节日 Chinese Holidays
Holidays are a fun and exciting introduction to Chinese language and culture. And who knows, maybe a classroom Chinese New Year party could spark a great discussion about world cultures, a new-found interest in Mandarin or even a whole academic unit about China…
For each holiday listed, you’ll find information about the holiday, activities for students K-12 in a variety of subject areas, printable activity sheets and our top picks for books, music and movies. Our goal is to make it easy to celebrate Chinese holidays in your classroom.
春节 CHINESE NEW YEAR – February 19th, 2015
(also called the Spring Festival)
For Chinese people, the New Year, also known as the “Spring Festival,” is the most important holiday of the entire year. A lively 2-week long holiday filled with iconic symbols such as red envelopes (pictured left), lanterns, dumplings, lion and dragon dances, firecrackers and lucky posters means there’s lots to explore with this quintessential Chinese holiday!
清明节 QING MING – April 5th, 2015
(also called the Festival of Clear Brightness or Tomb Sweeping Day)
The Qing Ming festival (say “ching ming”) has been celebrated in China since 3700 B.C. and falls on the 4th, 5th or 6th of April depending on the year. During this festival, families gather to honor their ancestors by cleaning gravesites and making offerings of food, sweets and ghost money. It is also quite common to see families enjoying a picnic together and flying kites.
端午节 DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL – June 20th, 2015
The Dragon Boat Festival began more than two thousand years ago to honor the memory of a poet and statesman named Qu Yuan (say “chew yuen”). In Chinese, the festival is called 端午节, duān wǔ jié (say “dwan oo jieh”). During the festival, hundreds of people gather along the banks of rivers and lakes to watch long, thin, brightly colored dragon boats race.
中秋节 MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL – September 27th, 2015
The Mid-Autumn Festival, known as Zhōngqiūjié (say “jong chee-oh jay”) in Chinese, is celebrated on the evening of the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month. On this day, it is said that the moon appears its brightest, fullest and most beautiful. Families in China gather together at the time of the Mid-Autumn festival to gaze at the moon, honor the Moon Goddess Chang E and celebrate family togetherness.