The National Holiday is one of the major events in China, which is celebrated every year. October 1st 1949 was the date that our Central Government selected as the official commencement of the People’s Republic of China. China was liberated by its citizens and became independent from that date on. Therefore, October 1st was designated as the day of the National Holiday to celebrate this historical moment.
The National Holiday is also known as the “The Golden Week” (十一黄金周) since it lasts for 7 days from October 1-7. The original holiday was only 3 days long, though in 1999 the Central Government decided to prolong it to 7 days. It was done by “borrowing” the weekend days from the week before, plus the 3 days after. So, normally on the week prior and after the holiday, we usually work for 6 and not 5 days.
One of the main ideas behind the 7-day long holiday was to promote the domestic economic growth. That’s because during such a long holiday people have more spare time for a lot of activities – like shopping, dining out, going to movie theaters, which should stimulate and boost the domestic consumption.
What We Do On the National Holiday
The Celebration Parade
It won’t happen in every city, but in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing, there’s usually a large parade held to mark the occasion. The local government, as well as some commercial entities will organize activities in certain commercial districts or at some touristic sites, as well as set the route for the parade.
Live Performance Show and Activities
The Central TV Channel plus some local channels will organize and broadcast live shows on TV, as well as all over the Internet. The performers mostly come from some famous bands, as well as individual singers, dancers, movie stars, magicians, talk show hosts, and many more.
This is one of major events being that takes place nationwide. Since China’s overall economy is now growing at a steady pace, people are more focused on activities that satisfy higher income level needs, such as traveling instead of basic necessities.
During such a long holiday, people usually leave the city and go back to their hometowns, especially those who work in major metropolises like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and others. They take this opportunity to spend quality time with their friends and relatives. It’s a great time to slow down the pace of life a bit.
Unfortunately, during this time several issues usually occur. The most prominent one arises when too many people travel for tourism during this short timeframe. Since it all happens in such a concentrated period, it creates a lot of problems. Some epithets that are used to describe this issue are: “a mountain of people”, or “a sea of people”.
The major sites in most touristic places get overwhelmingly crowded. It also over-burdens public resources in almost all aspects, including the long queues which are present practically everywhere. And the more people are gathered in one place – the lower their satisfaction levels are, during this period.
The traffic on highways and main roads, especially those that lead to these sites, are completely jammed. Since more and more people are now able to afford cars, driving has become one of the most popular ways to travel. But no matter how fast and how advanced the public transportation network becomes, it still cannot keep up with the enormous crowds occupying these sites.
Some voices are rising nowadays in favor of an enhanced “vacation with pay” annual corporate policy. The local governments are also encouraging employers to implement such policy, hoping to relieve this issue that comes from the heavy tourism flow during this holiday period. But unfortunately, since this policy is not legally enforceable yet – its implementation rates are still quite low.
Luckily, more and more people are staring to realize the importance of this issue, especially after seeing so many fellow humans get stuffed in one area, like sardines in a can. Therefore, many nowadays prefer to either stay at home during the holiday, or go overseas to avoid such a heavy tourism flow inside our country.