Words by Mary Brown, an Admissions Advisor at CAPA The Global Education Network.
When you study abroad in Shanghai, there's a few cultural celebrations throughout the country that are worth looking into attending! Here are eight for your list:
1. Spring Festival
This January 27th- February 2nd festival, better known as the Chinese New Year, celebrates the upcoming year with hopes toward luck and prosperity. Festivities include holding a family dinner, the exchange of red envelopes (with money), fireworks, dancing, and elaborate decorations! Many Chinese will hang red items and decorations around for luck as well.
2. Tomb Sweeping Day
Known as “Qingming,” the tomb sweeping day is celebrated on April 3-5 in order to show respect for ancestors. Traditionally, the days are spent sweeping the tombs of family to clean them while offering food and burning incense and paper money. Many Chinese may wear willow branches. Later placing the branches on gates and front doors to help ward off evil spirits.
3. Dragon Boat Festival
Held on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese month, this 2000 year old festival features dragon boat racing, eating plenty of zongzi, and honoring Qu Yuan. Part of the celebrations also include herbal baths, perfume pouches, and colored string bracelets worn by children for good luck.
4. National Day
A celebration to commemorate the inauguration of the People’s Republic of China makes for October 1-7 to be deemed the Chinese “Golden Week.” Through flag raising ceremonies, fireworks, and extremely heightened tourism, the Golden Week is full of excitement and reuniting families. Despite all of the excitement, this is also a week many Chinese use to rest and relax with family and friends.
5. Peach Blossom Festival
With the blooming of the beautiful peach trees in March/April comes a cultural celebration of entertainment and peach-related foods! The highlights of the festival range from acrobats to pig races that should not be missed. In Shanghai, people will often enjoy ethnic folk music and picnic around fish ponds to enjoy the day.
6. Shanghai Longhua Temple Fair
The 3rd day of 3rd Chinese month marks the largest traditional temple fair in Shanghai. Taking place at the famous Longhua Temple, fair-goers can enjoy the ancient architecture, folk-customs, and religious Buddhist activities that go on. Throughout the day are planned activities ranging from learning martial arts to tasting local Longhua food.
7. Lantern Festival
The 1st feast of Chinese New Year celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st Chinese lunar month is one of spectacular lights and festivities. The lantern festival marks the end of the Spring festival, or Chinese New Year. Chinese celebrate with lantern riddles, tangyuan, and beautiful dances with lions and dragons.
8. Laba Festival
This tradition is better known as the “Rice Porridge Festival” and is celebrated on 8th day of the 12th Chinese Month. On this day, the Chinese enjoy eating Laba Congee and celebrate the new harvest and enlightenment of the Buddha. A day that used to be attributed to giving sacrifices to ancestors is now an exciting eating event throughout Shanghai.