China celebrates a number of festivals throughout the year and such festivals are a great time to visit - the mood is one of fun and special foods will be prepared and events held. However, at these times of year the demand for services such as hotel rooms and train tickets is at its highest so it can make travel more difficult.
Harbin Ice Festival
Visit north-east China in the depths of winter to see the spectacular ice sculptures of the annual Harbin Ice Festival with our special festival tour. It's now on the of the world's biggest winter festivals kicks off each year in December and runs through until February.
Chinese New Year
Celebrated on the 15th day of the first calendar month in the Chinese lunar year, on this day the country comes alive with celebrations ranging from dragon dances to firework displays. It's an especially colourful time to visit China as families in the cities and rural towns mark the beginning of the new year with lanterns decorating the streets.
Peach Blossom Festival
Spring is a lovely time to visit China with pleasant weather and the vivid colours of flowers decorating the landscape. A good place to enjoy this is in Shanghai's Nanhui District between March and April when the Peach Blossom Festival is celebrated, oddly enough, with pig races, acrobats and folk musicians. In Suzhou a similar festival (without the pigs) is held early in the year, between February and March.
Tomb Sweeping Day
In April China celebrates Tomb Sweeping Day or Qingming Festival as it is known locally. In early April families will visit and clean the tombs of their ancestors, showing their respect. It's also a time to celebrate spring and kite flying is a popular past-time during this three day public holiday with a variety of tasty treats shared.
Dragon Boat Festival
With a history of more than 2,000 years the Dragon Boat Festival has resulted in many traditions, chief among them the racing of human-powered wooden watercraft with dragon designs. Sticky rice dumplings are eaten and wine consumed to commemorate the great patriot Qu Yuan.
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Double Seventh Festival
The Chinese celebrate their version of Valentine's Day on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar - hence the name. It's a particularly romantic time to visit with couples exchanging flowers and gifts.
Mid Autumn Festival
The Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, which usually falls in late September or early October. It's also known as Moon Cake Festival for the sweet cakes that are eaten in place of the sacrifices the ancient emperors would have made to the moon.
The Chongyang Festival marks the 9th day of the 9th lunar month, a lucky number for the Chinese. Traditional customs include drinking chrysanthemum wine, eating cakes and climbing mountains.