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Business Hours and Holidays in China

China Business Hours and Holidays

The business hours differ for different enterprises and cities in China. Hotels, restaurants, post offices, banks, government apparatus and private enterprises all have their different work hours.

Shops are open from 10:00 to 21:00, while some may be open earlier at 09:00 and last to 22:00. During the May Day Holiday (May 1st-7th) and the National Day Holiday (October 1st-7th), all shops prolong their service hours by half hour to one and a half hours. However, it is different during the traditional Spring Festival. Shops are closed early in the afternoon on the eve of the Chinese New Year and shorten their hours.

Most big restaurants are open 10:00-21:00, and restaurants may have afternoon break between approximately 14: 30-17:30 in some cities. Some small restaurants supplying breakfast opens earlier at 06:30, and there are also restaurants offers round-o'clock service. Restaurants will prolong their service time during the holidays and even stay open overnight on the eve of the Chinese New Year.

Post offices don't have the same business hours in a city. Most offices open at 8:30 or 9:00 and are closed at 17:00 or 18:00. At weekends, festivals and holidays, the working hours is shortened by one to three hours. It is the same with banks. But some banks may be closed at weekends and during holidays, for there are many self-service banks installing with CDM, ATM, and Self-service Fee Paying Machine.

The business hours for government apparatus are mostly 09:00-17:00, with an hour's break at noon. The private enterprises practice eights working hours a day, from 08:00-08:30 to 18:00, and permit a flexible period for lunch and siesta.

Official Chinese Holidays

New Year's Day (January 1)
Not as much celebrated as it is in other parts of the world because it is overshadowed by the upcoming Chinese New Year somewhere a month away. However, employees will enjoy a paid day-off. And there will be parties everywhere, in parks, dancing halls and universities where students will leave for the winter vacation.

International Women's Day (March 8)
Interestingly, women employees will get a whole or an half paid day-off on the day while the men are at the mercy of their employers.

Tree-Planting Day (April 1)
Highly promoted since the late 70's by the reformist government and yet to become established. It marks the beginning of a greening campaign all over the country during the month each year.

International Labor Day (May 1)
No less celebrated than the New Year's Day. Employees will enjoy a paid day-off. Celebration parties in parks took the place of parades today.

Youth Day (May 4)
A day in memory of the first mass student movement in 1919, a movement touched off by the then Chinese government that gave in to the Japanese government's attempt to colonize Shandong Province. It is also an anti-Confucius movement as well as one that promoted the western scientific and democratic ideas. Government organized youth activities everywhere in the country today characterizes the celebration of this day.

Children's Day (June 1)
It is the most memorable day of Chinese kids all over the country. Almost all entertainment places such as cinemas, parks and children museums and palaces are open free to them. Elementary schools throw celebration parties while parents shower them with presents.

The CCP's Birthday (July 1)
It marked the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 in Shanghai. It is usually characterized by front page editorials from major government newspapers.

Army's Day (August 1)
A communist-led nationalist army staged the first armed uprising in Chinese communist history against the Nationalists on August 1, 1927. It was regarded as the beginning of the Red Army (later the People's Liberation Army). Now the anniversary is often used to promote better relationships between the army and civilians, a tradition believed to have helped it beat the Nationalists during the civil war in 1949.

Teacher's Day (September 1)
It was started in the early eighties as an effort to reverse the anti-intellectual sentiment nurtured by the "Cultural Revolution". It is yet to become an established holiday.

National Day (October 1)
It is the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 in the wake of routing the Nationalists who have since taken refuge in Taiwan. There used to be grand parades squares of major cities of the country. Now celebrations usually take the form of parties in amusement parks by day and fire-works and grand TV ensembles during the evening. Employees enjoy two paid days-off. It is also a good occasion for many people to take a short excursion to enjoy the beauty of the golden Fall.

Chinese Traditional Holidays

The calendar the Chinese traditional holidays follow is of a unique lunar-solar system. Therefore, 1st of the 1st month referred here does not necessarily mean January 1. Come here to see the details of the Chinese calendar.

Lantern Festival (15th of the 1st month)
Lantern exhibits, lion and dragon dances, and eating Tang Yuan (ball-shaped boiled sweet rice dumplings with delicious stuffing.) feature this day. It is very much celebrated in the rural areas by farmers. The Lantern Festival also marks the end of the Chinese New Year season.

Qing Ming (Pure and Bright in Chinese) (Fifth of the 24 Solar Terms)
Originally it was a celebration of spring. People used to customarily go out on an excursion to "tread grass". Later it became day dedicated to the dear departed. Tidying up ancestors' tombs is its major big event.

Duan Wu (Dragon Boat) Festival (5th of the 5th month)
Said to be in memory of a great patriot poet of the then State of Chu during the Warring States period (475-221 B.C.), Qu Yuan (Ch'u Yuan), who drowned himself to protest his emperor who gave in to the bully State of Chin. For fear that fish may consume his body, people of Chu threw launched their boats and started throwing rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves into the river where he was drowned to feed the fish. Now the big event of dragon boat contest may be a legacy of such activity. People today still eat the bamboo-leave rice dumplings on the occasion today.

The Seventh Eve (7th of the seventh month)
It is a traditional holiday almost lost to the younger generations today. It originates from a beautiful legend about a cowboy and a fairy who were cruelly separated and reunited once each year on this happy sad occasion. A more detailed story is forthcoming.

Mid-Autumn Festival (15th of the eighth month)
It is second only to the Chinese New Year in significance. The moon on this day is the fullest and largest to the eye. There is also a beautiful story behind it. Children are told that there's fairy on the moon living in a spacious but cold crystal palace with her sole companion, a jade rabbit. A heavenly general and friend would occasionally pay her a visit, bringing along his fragrant wine. She would then dance a beautiful dance. The shadows on the moon made the story all the more credible and fascinating to the young imaginative minds.

Spring Festival (The Chinese New Year) (1st of the 1st month)
The biggest and most celebrated festival in China and part of east and south east Asia. For more details, please refer to my Chinese New Year homepage.,
Author/Editor By : HCT