Every day, hundreds of web users search their way to Allegravita’s website to find out more about  the “Chinese New Year”, as well as the other Chinese holidays.  This topic has become one of Allegravita’s all-time most popular topics.

To address that need, we published articles on Chinese Holidays as well as a special guide on the Spring Festival in our Allegravita’s China blog which have generated huge traffic and very positive feedback.  These Chinese holidays are not only of great significance to the Chinese people, but also have a huge impact on foreign and domestic business in China, good and bad.

There is a lot more to the annual schedule of lunar and fixed Chinese holidays: when understood well, and with the help of a skilled agency such as ours, they can be powerful methods to help your business relationships and sales successes.

To further amplify this advice we routinely provide our clients, we have created our 2nd Allegravita’s Chinese Takeout infographic of the 12-month Enter the Dragon series: Understanding Chinese Holidays for Better Business Outcomes.

We hope that the simple guide that follows will help you to plan your business visits and marketing activities accordingly, and capitalize on these holidays as great opportunities to deepen your guānxī with your Chinese partners, regulators and customers.

Scroll to the bottom to download a high-resolution PDF.


Allegravita's Chinese Takeout: Enter the Dragon volume 2, "Understanding Chinese Holidays for Better Business Outcomes"


Click here to download a high-resolution PDF of the infographic.


Allegravita's Chinese Takeout, Enter the Dragon: A Realistic Overview of China

Enter the Dragon, Part 1 of 12, “A Realistic Overview of China”

Allegravita's Chinese Takeout, Enter the Dragon: Understanding Chinese Holidays for Better Business Outcomes

Enter the Dragon, Part 2 of 12, “Understanding Chinese Holidays for Better Business Outcomes”

Allegravita's Chinese Takeout, Enter the Dragon: Colors to Use and Colors to Avoid in China

Enter the Dragon, Part 3 of 12, “Colors to Use and Colors to Avoid in China”

Allegravita's Chinese Takeout, Enter the Dragon: Gifts in China (What to Give, What to Avoid)

Enter the Dragon, Part 4 of 12, “Gifts in China: What to Give, What to Avoid”

Enter the Dragon, Part 5 of 12, “Spring Festival: The Lunar (or Chinese) New Year”



China in a box



Understanding Chinese Holidays

If you’re a company taking your first steps into the Chinese marketplace, don’t experience disruption to your business plans due to lack of planning around the Chinese mainland’s unique holiday calendar.

For new entrants to the China market, it can be quite disorienting to discover your entire in-market team away on holidays you’ve never heard of. And it’s really very irritating (and expensive) to arrive in Beijing or Shanghai to find that none of the “big potatoes” you need to meet are available due to an incomprehensible slowdown caused by an impending holiday (or one just passed!)

Due to religious differences, China doesn’t officially celebrate Christmas, Easter, or any other Judeo-Christian holiday. Rather, China has a series of traditional holidays, some derived from nationhood and others with ancient agrarian roots. Holidays dedicated to China’s nationhood and political system fall on the same date each year, while traditional holidays very according to the lunar calendar.

We encourage you to understand China’s holiday schedule and to take advantage of your new understanding: you have great opportunities to deepen your business and government guanxi relationships.

Year 年

Yuan Dan (New Year’s Day) 元旦

International New Year’s Day is officially marked in China, and has a three day vacation attached to it, however celebrations are pale and minuscule compared to the Lunar New Year a month later. Due to the short vacation of only 3 days, few mainland Chinese travel much distance during this holiday.

The New Year isn’t at all disruptive to business.

Good Mandarin Chinese phrases to use during the new year are “新年快乐” (xin nian kuai le, “Happy New Year”) or “元旦快乐” (yuan dan kuai le, “Happy Yuan Dan”).

In summary, do take advantage of the new year, but keep your powder dry for the cacophonous glory of the lunar New Year, which will soon be upon us…

Date: 1st Jan

Duration: 3 Days

Greetings: YES

Gifts: YES (Recommended)

Chun Jie (Lunar New Year, aka Chinese New Year, aka Spring Festival) 春节

In China, the Lunar New Year is of equivalent importance as Christmas and Hanukkah in the Judeo-Christian traditions. That is to say, it’s the main holiday in the annual schedule that is celebrated and observed with the greatest gusto by all Chinese people.

The two weeks bookending the beginning and end of the Lunar New Year week is a terrible time to be doing business in China. Much like the “silly season” around the Christmas/New Year period in the west, this is a time of year during which few major decisions are made and few large purchase orders are written. It’s best to avoid time-consuming or expensive business development activities during this period.

Be sure to send greetings! “过年好!” (guo nian hao, “happy getting past the old year!”) “恭贺新春” (gong he xin chun, “sincere congratulations on the new spring”), or more generic “新年快乐” (xin nian kuai le, your typical “Happy New Year”). Avoid 恭喜发财.

Date: Jan-Feb (Depending on Lunar Calendar)

Duration: 7 DAYS

Greetings: YES

Gifts: YES (Recommended)

Qing Ming (Tomb Sweeping Day) 清明

Since the taboo subject of death is involved, the whole business of Qing Ming is quite private and solemn. As a non-Chinese, don’t bother with special greetings or gifts, Best to leave this three day holiday alone.

The Qing Ming period is only minimally disruptive to business, Senior decision makers may be out of the office for a day or two on either side of the holiday, so plan your business activities accordingly.

Date: April

Duration: 3 DAYS

Greetings: No (Nor necessary)

Gifts: No (NOT Recommended)

Lao Dong Jie (Labor Day, aka May Day, aka International Workers’ Day) 劳动节

Labor Day is marked with a three day national vacation beginning on May 1st every year. The holiday was introduced by the post-1949 government of Chairman Mao. The holiday is a modern one: it doesn’t have any traditional cultural importance. Like most Chinese holidays, you should assume that more senior decision makers will take a few extra days on either side of the holiday, so avoid important business during the week leading up to and the week after the Labor Day period.

Date: May 1st

Duration: 3 DAYS

Greetings: No (Not necessary)

Gifts: No (Nor necessary)

Duan Wu (Dragon Boat Festival) 端午

Originally a day to honor ancient poet Qu Yuan, this day turned into a holiday in recent times. This three day holiday is the time that Chinese mainland people will eat 粽子 (zong zi), a glutinous rice package wrapped in bamboo leaves. Everyone in China eats zongzi, although few actually race dragon boats these days.

From a business timing perspective, you may find some locally engaged staff-members or business collaborators to be absent from work for a week during this period, especially if they are active participants in dragon boat teams, and are attending race in far flung cities.

Date: May (Depending on Lunar Calendar)

Duration: 3 DAYS

Greetings: Yes

Gifts: YES (Recommended)

Zhong Qiu (Mid-Autumn Festival) 中秋

This important and beloved festival marks the dead-center of autumn in the Lunar Calendar. The Mid-Autumn Festival is second only to the Lunar New Year in the year’s most important holidays.

The effect of the Mid-Autumn Festival on business availability is analogous to that of the Lunar New Year. It’s best to lower your expectations that decision makers will be of a mind to make major decisions for the fortnight leading up to and after the holiday period.

Be sure to plan well in advance to take full advantage of the Mid-Autumn Festival with gifts of mooncakes and a party for your team, their spouses, your best customers and allies.

A good greeting is 中秋佳节快乐 (zhong qiu jia jie kuai le, “Have a happy time during the pleasant Mid-Autumn Festival”).

Date: August (Depending on Lunar Calendar)

Duration: 3 Days

Greetings: Yes

Gifts: YES (Recommended)

Guo Qing Jie (China National Day) 国庆节

Every country has its day. October 1st is China’s day. This is the day that marks Chairman Mao Zedong standing on the rostrum at Tian’anmen Gate, in 1949, declaring the People’s Republic of China. China National Day is the beginning of an annual seven day vacation.

There will be a lot of fireworks exploding overhear, but people don’t celebrate it personally. There is no need or real opportunity to improve personal business relationships during this seven day vacation—however large businesses commonly take out full-page advertisements in major newspapers to congratulate China on her birthday each year.

The most common Mandarin Chinese phrase used on National Day is 欢度国庆 (huan du guo qing, “Enjoy the National Day Vacation”)

Date: Oct 1st

Duration: 7 DAYS

Greetings: NO (Nor necessary)

Gifts: NO (Not necessary)


The principle of making good use of Chinese holidays in your business development and corporate communications campaign can be summarized into three main points:

·Be aware of all upcoming holidays, taking care to ascertain the actual dates each year.

·Ensure good timing on your promotional activities and events.

·Be different from everyone else. Make your greetings, cards, gifts and events stand out from an ocean of mediocrity.

It can take some time to become accustomed to Chiense holiday timing, and a solid localization effort to distill a communications style and voice that fits the Chinese cultural context and your brand identity well. The easiest solution for a fast and successful program is no engage the services of a local expert. Your local partners will be your calendar, your alarm clock, your copywriter, your design team and your event manager. If you’re still without such a partner, please do consider Allegravita’s battle proven services.

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