Beijing Travel Guides
Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)
This holiday is celebrated at either the end of January or the beginning of February and starts on the first day of the first moon, depending on the lunar calendar. Millions of Chinese migrate to Beijing for what is the biggest and most important event of the year. There are spectacular displays of colour and culture throughout the city with festivities lasting for 15 days.
The Lunar Calendar names years after animals, which according to legend were summoned by the Buddha before he departed from the earth. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality. Locals decorate their houses and meet up with family and friends. Expect all hotels, restaurants and attractions to be packed solid during this period.
The Lantern Festival
This usually marks the end of the Chinese New Year festival. Residents hang coloured paper lanterns through the streets and on all of the buildings. Candles are lit inside the lanterns at nighttime creating a beautiful and surreal effect across the city. Traditional sticky rice dumplings (Yuanxiao) are eaten on this day.
Kuan Yin's Birthday
Kuan Yin was the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and residents come together with family and friends to their pay respect at various temples around the city. Those adults without children offer prays to Kuan Yin so that they may be blessed with offspring.
Tomb Sweeping Day
Otherwise known as the Ching Ming festival, this is a day when the Chinese pay their respects to the souls and memories of their deceased relatives. Gravesites are ritually cleaned and offerings of food, wine and flowers are made, followed by the burning of 'ghost money', which the deceased may use in their afterlife.
Dragon Boat Festival
The sport originated over 2,000 years ago and this festival sees teams competing against one another in traditional long, narrow rowing boats, with ornate decorations, rowing to the beat of a drum.
The Moon Festival
Sometimes known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, it is time when families join together to retell the legendary moon fairy story and celebrate with dancing, the lighting of candles and eating moon cakes.