National Day of the People's Republic of China

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The first raising of the Chinese national flag at the celebration of the beginning of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949

National Day is a yearly holiday in the People's Republic of China. It celebrates the beginning of its new government on October 1, 1949. It is one of two Golden Weeks in the country, along with the Chinese New Year.[1][2]

Name[change | change source]

The Mandarin Chinese name of the holiday is Guóqìng Jié,[a] which means "Nation-Celebrating Holiday" or "Holiday of National Celebration". It is written 國慶節 in traditional characters and 国庆节 in simplified characters. The holiday has also become a common given name in China, with around 420,000 people named "Guoqing" in 2010.[3]

History[change | change source]

Mao Zedong speaking about the beginning of the People's Republic of China from atop the Forbidden City's Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian'anmen) on October 1, 1949
Soldiers walk past Tian'anmen on Oct. 1, 1950
People's Liberation Army tanks drive down Chang'an Avenue on Oct. 1, 1952
People carry flags and photographs of Communist and national leaders on Oct. 1, 1952
Foreign guests sometimes come to the celebrations, such as the French thinkers De Beauvoir and Sartre in 1955.

From at least the time of the Western Jin dynasty in the late 3rd century,[4] the birthday of the emperor was celebrated as a national holiday.[5] After the Xinhai Revolution, the Republic of China celebrated its national day on October 10.[6]

Near the end of the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party began the People's Republic of China on September 21, 1949. This is sometimes known as "Chinese Independence Day".[7] The PRC leaders and 300,000 Chinese celebrated the creation of the new government on October 1 in Tian'anmen Square.[2] At the first meeting of the first CPPCC on Oct. 9, Xu Guangping introduced Ma Xulun's suggestion that China have a yearly national day celebrated apart from the birthday of the Communist Party. They recommended it be October 1, the day of Mao's public message.[1] The Central People's Government passed their suggestion on December 2, making Oct. 1 a yearly holiday.[1][6]

National Day was celebrated with military parades in Beijing every year from 1949 to 1959. By 1960, the problems during the Great Leap Forward caused the government to suggest saving money on celebrations.[1] From 1960 to 1970, there were no military parades but the day was still celebrated with large gatherings in Tian'anmen Square.[8] After the Ninth Congress, the big meetings in Beijing were discouraged in favor of smaller events at parks and other locations from 1971 to 1983.[8] 1984 saw the first military parade in many years, celebrating the PRC's 35th anniversary. There was another large military parade at the 50th anniversary in 1999, and a third at the 60th anniversary in the year after the Beijing Olympics.[1][9]

Since the year 2000, National Day has been one of the country's Golden Weeks: there are three days of paid time away from work from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3 and two weekends around it are moved to make a 7 day long holiday.[7] These Golden Weeks copied a similar Japanese idea.[2] The 2017 National Day was 8 days long, because it also included the Mid-Autumn Festival.[10][11] In 2014, the day before National Day became Martyrs' Day, celebrating the soldiers and other Chinese who died creating the PRC.[12]

Events[change | change source]

Fireworks celebrating the 2012 National Day in Hong Kong, now a specially-governed part of China
Fireworks at Shanghai's 2015 Music Fireworks Festival, which occurs over the whole week of the holiday

National Day begins with the raising of the national flag at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing.[2]

Khruschev, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Sun Yat-sen's widow at a state dinner in 1959, the PRC's 10th anniversary.

The holiday is associated with large military parades in Beijing. The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party give speeches[13] and watch from Tian'anmen, the southern gate of the Forbidden City, and millions of Chinese people watch from Tian'anmen Square and on television. China no longer has these parades every year,[1] but the idea now is to have a smaller parade every 5th anniversary and a larger parade every 10th anniversary.[7] When these parades occur, the city tries very hard to keep everyone safe and to make the event look good. For the 2009 parade, the city police added 1,120,000 volunteers to patrol the streets. 50,000 policemen and women worked more than 25 hours without stopping for rest or sleep.[14]

Every year, many large groups of flowers are put along Beijing's Chang'an Avenue.[15] The 2017 centerpiece measured 50 meters (160 ft) across its base and stood 17 meters (56 ft) high. Lan Hailang and dozens of other designers and officials made it from April to September, with at least 70 big design changes. The finished designs should show how China is getting better and what it plans to do next. Parts of the 2017 flower designs show the Belt-and-Road Initiative to make China's connections with Central Asia better; other parts show ways Beijing and Tianjin are going to be better over the next few years.[15]

There are state dinners in Beijing[2][16] and at Chinese embassies around the world throughout the week.[17][18][19][20]

In the evening, fireworks are set off in Beijing,[2][13] Hong Kong,[8] and other large cities. There are also some singing,[13] dancing,[13] painting, and calligraphy celebrations.[7] In Shanghai, the Tourism Festival's Music Fireworks Festival happens during the weeklong holiday.[21] It is one of Asia's largest fireworks shows.[22]

The long holiday also helps Chinese tourism, with millions of people traveling around the country visiting family members or sightseeing.[2][7] This leads to higher prices and crowds, though, so foreign visitors are usually encouraged to come at other times of the year instead.[7] The 1st day of the 2017 National Day vacation set records for the national rail system: more than 15 million trips were taken over 24 hours.[11]

Unlike traditional Chinese holidays, National Day is not associated with any special food.

Gallery[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. These marks show the tones of the Chinese words, which are important in saying them correctly.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Blog: How Much Do You Know about China's National Day?", China Daily, Beijing: State Council Information Office, Sep 30, 2016[permanent dead link].
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 McKenna, Amy (July 14, 2008), "National Day", Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Chicago{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link).
  3. "Xinhua: 421,000 Chinese Share One Given Name 'Guoqing', Meaning National Day", Official site, Beijing: China Internet Information Center, Oct 5, 2009.
  4. "National Day 2017 and 2018", Public Holidays, Sydney, 2017{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link).
  5. "National Day", ForeignerCN, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China", Beijing: Central People's Government of the PRC, Dec 2, 1949.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 "Chinese National Day", Travel China Guide, Xi'an: Marco Polo Travel Service, 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Chinese National Day", OfficeHolidays, 2017.
  9. Coonan, Clifford (Oct 2, 2009), "China Celebrates with Elaborate Display of Power and Ideology", The Irish Times, Dublin{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link).
  10. "Public Holidays", Official site, Beijing: State Council of the PRC, 2017.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Xinhua: Chinese Railways Carry Record Passengers on National Day", Official site, Beijing: State Council of the PRC, 2017.
  12. "Xinhua:Xi Pays Tribute to National Heroes at Tian'anmen Square", Official site, Beijing: State Council of the PRC, 2017.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 "60th Anniversary Activity Calendar", Official site, Beijing: People's Government of Beijing, 2009, archived from the original on 2010-08-13, retrieved 2017-10-08.
  14. "XInhua:More than 1 mln People Work to Guarantee Safe Celebrations", Official site, Beijing: China Internet Information Center, Oct 2, 2009.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Gan, Nectar (Oct 1, 2017), "China's National Day Holiday Gets Under Way with Huge Basket of Flowers in Tiananmen Square", South China Morning Post, Hong Kong{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link).
  16. Zhang Tao, ed. (Oct 1, 2017), "State Council Holds Reception to Celebrate the 68th Anniversary of Founding of PRC", Official site, Beijing: Ministry of National Defense of the PRC.
  17. "Xinhua: Chinese Embassy in Egypt Celebrates 58th National Day Anniversary", People's Daily Online, Beijing: Central Committee of the CCP, Oct 1, 2007.
  18. "Xinhua: Chinese Embassy in Jordan Celebrates 58th National Day Anniversary", People's Daily Online, Beijing: Central Committee of the CCP, Oct 1, 2007.
  19. "59th National Day of the People's Republic of China Celebrated", Official site, Accra: Embassy of the PRC in the Republic of Ghana, Sep 25, 2008.
  20. "Xinhua: Buenos Aires Holds Celebration Marking 60th Anniversary of PRC", Official site, Beijing: China Internet Information Center, Oct 12, 2009.
  21. Hu Min (Sep 10, 2015), "Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival to Kick Off Late September", Shanghai Daily, Shanghai: Shanghai United Media Group.
  22. "Festival Spotlight: The Shanghai International Music & Fireworks Festival", On the Go Tours, London, Aug 24, 2011{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link).

Other websites[change | change source]