Top 10 Most Important Chinese Festivals with Pictures

Written by Sally Guo Updated Dec. 21, 2023

China has various traditional festivals which have been deep-rooted over a thousand years of history. When a festival comes, it is a good time to enjoy the pageantry and the colorful Chinese culture.

The 10 most important Chinese festivals include the Spring Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Mid-autumn Festival. etc.

The dates of traditional Chinese festivals usually change every year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

1. Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year. It falls on the first day of the first lunar month.

Chinese New Year is the most important festival in China. It is a grand family reunion time for Chinese people around the world.

The theme of the Spring Festival is getting rid of the old and making way for the new. There are lots of traditions and celebrations associated with the festival, such as dragon dance, setting off fireworks, and giving red envelopes.

Chinese New Year Dragon Dance
Chinese New Year Dragon Dance

2. Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Jie)

The Lantern Festival is also known as Yuan Xiao Jie or Shang Yuan Festival. It falls on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year.  It traditionally marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebration.

Tangyuan (汤圆 tāng yuan), also called Yuan Xiao (元宵 yuán xiāo), is a must-eat food for the Lantern Festival. Shaped like a round ball, Tang Yuan symbolizes people's desires for happiness and family reunions.

Besides eating Tangyuan, Chinese people would also light colorful lanterns and guess lantern riddles to celebrate this festival.

Lantern shows during the Chinese lantern Festival

3. Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)

The Qingming Festival, also called Tomb Sweeping Day,  falls on April 4 or April 5 every year.

It is not only a traditional Chinese Festival but also the fifth of the standard Chinese 24 Solar Terms. It usually falls on April 4 or April 5 every year.

Qing ming (ching ming) means “the days are going to be warm and the plants are going to turn green.” It is a day for people to go out for tomb sweeping, spring outings, and kite flying.

Sweeping tombs on the Qingming Festival
Sweeping tombs on the Qingming Festivaltest

4. Dragon Boat Festival (Duan Wu Jie)

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duan Wu Jie in Chinese, falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.

Chinese people celebrate this festival by racing dragon boats, eating Zongzi, drinking realgar wine, and hanging Chinese Mugwort to honor Qu Yuan.

Dragon Boat Racing during Dragon Boat Festival
Dragon Boat Racing during Dragon Boat Festival

5. Qixi

The Qixi is the Chinese Valentine's Day. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month

In the past, girls would worship the weaver fairy and ask for a light hand for knitting during the festival. 

In modern times, young people usually celebrate it by giving flowers, chocolates, and other presents to their sweethearts, instead of doing the traditional customs.

6. Hungry Ghost Festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival is also called as Zhongyuan Festival by Taoists or the Yulanpen Festival by Buddhists. It falls on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month.

Like the Qingming Festival, people would prepare ritualistic food offerings and burn incense and paper for the dead people. Through these activities, people express how much they miss their ancestors.

7. Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival)

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.

As the Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also a grand time for family reunions.

Chinese people would eat moon cakes, admire the full moon, and hang up colorful lanterns during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Mid-Autumn Festival
The Full Moon on Mid-Autumn Festival

8. Chongyang Festival

The Chongyang Festival falls on the ninth of the ninth lunar month. It is a traditional Chinese festival for the elders. So it is known as Senior People’s Day.

Chinese people will visit senior family members, climb mountains, eat Chongyang cakes, and admire chrysanthemums to celebrate this festival.

Climbing Mountains on Chongyang Festival
Climbing Mountains at Chongyang Festival

9. Dongzhi Festival (Winter Solstice)

The Dongzhi Festival (Winter Solstice) is not only a traditional Chinese Festival but also the nineteenth of the traditional Chinese 24 Solar Terms.

It usually falls on December 21 or December 22 every year.

Winter Solstice is the day when the daytime is the shortest and nighttime is the longest. Chinese people celebrate this festival by eating Chinese dumplings or Tangyuan with their families.

10. La Ba Festival

The Laba Festival is a traditional Chinese festival to worship ancestors and pray for the harvest. It falls on the eighth day of the last lunar month. People usually eat laba porridge (made of diversified rice) to celebrate this festival.

It is a tradition to eat Laba porriage during the Laba Festival

You Might Also Want to Read

Create My Trip

Need Help?

Request a custom itinerary today and get one step closer to your personalized trip

Create Your Trip