Chinese Festivals and Holidays

Three key festival holidays are celebrated in China.  Each has traditions going back thousands of years.  If you live in China or in a Chinese community these festivals can be a fascinating way to learn about and participate in the culture.  We have prepared three courses to help you understand the stories and background of the festival and the key activities.  Each course includes a short community research project that you can do with the help of some Chinese friends.

These free online course will take you around 2 hours to complete and you can work on it in your own time for up to 30 days.  Courses are run a week or two before the festival to give you the opportunity to participate in the actual event.


Dragon Boat Festival

Next course May 2017

Also called “Duan Wu Jie” and  is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.  At this time people will participate in or observe Dragon Boat races and will prepare and eat a special rice dumpling called “Zongzi.”  In this course you will learn about the sad story of patriotic Qu Yuan and his death.

Click here to enrol in the course.  The first time you login you will need to create a user account and set a password.

Mid Autumn Festival

Next course September 2017

Chinese Mid Autumn Festival is probably the second most important holiday and festival in China after Chinese New Year.  It’s held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month and it’s a time when Chinese people try to get home and spend the evening with their families.  There are some interesting traditions and stories that are part of this festival including the story of Chang’e and Houyi which dates all the way back to the Shang dynasty and of course the origins of moon cakes from the end of the Yuan dynasty.

Chinese New Year

Next course February 2018

Chinese New Year is probably the most significant holiday in the Chinese world.  In mainland China it is the longest holiday and those living away from home do their best to return to their traditional homes so they can share the holiday with their families.  In some ways it is similar to Christmas in the western world.