Chinese Holidays Guide

Important Dates & Practical Tips for Smooth Employee Management

2024 – The Year of the Dragon

The following guide summarizes valuable insights into 2024’s Chinese holidays that shape the country’s business environment and workforce. Reading on, you will find key dates, preparation recommendations, and tips for managing employees during and around festive seasons. We invite you to share this guide with relevant managers and team members, allowing them to connect with their Chinese colleagues more easily. These efforts will positively impact employment relations and retention within your organization.

Navigation list:

New Year (yuán dàn)

When: December 30, 2023 to January 1, 2024

Total vacation days: 1, combined with a weekend

When local employees resume work: January 2

Good to know: As China follows the lunar calendar for holiday celebrations, the Gregorian New Year lacks cultural significance compared to the traditional Chinese New Year. Nevertheless, since Chinese people don’t want to miss out on the party, the New Year’s Eve celebrations usually include fireworks and social gatherings, which are only a prelude to the forthcoming grandiose festival.

Gift ideas for employees:

  • Greeting cards
  • Gift cards
  • Throw a company party

Chinese Spring Festival / Chinese New Year (chūn jié)

When: February 10-17, 2024

Total vacation days: 8

When local employees resume work: February 18 (Sunday)

Adjusted working days: 2 (February 4 and 18)

Good to know: The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in China. This vibrant and remarkable celebration extends over two weeks, encompassing what is famously referred to as the Golden Week. The sheer scale of this annual event brings China to a standstill, which creates logistical bottlenecks and necessitates extensive logistics preparations. Each year is associated with a specific zodiac animal, and in 2024, it will be the Year of the Dragon, a symbol of strength, fortune, and vitality, adding even more excitement to this cherished cultural festival.

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Gift ideas for employees:

  • Greeting cards
  • Gift cards
  • Red packets (hóngbāo) with cash in any amount consisting of the lucky number 8; Can be sent digitally via WeChat.
  • Food: tea packets, red wine, pastries, dried fruits
  • Customized themed merchandise
  • Digital products: earphones, smartwatches
  • This is usually the time to give local employees their annual bonus

Common greetings:

  • Xīnnián kuàilè (新年快乐) – Happy New Year
  • Xīnnián hǎo (新年好) – Good New Year
  • Chūnjié kuàilè (春节快乐) – Happy Spring Festival
  • wàn shì rú yì (万事如意) – May all go well
  • shēn tǐ jiàn kāng (身体健康) – Good health
  • gōngxǐ fācái (恭喜发财) – Prosperity and good fortune
  • nián nián yǒu yú (年年有余) – Surplus and abundance year after year
  • Shēng yì xīng long (生意兴隆) – Blessing for the success of the business
  • Lóng nián dàjí (龙年大吉) – Good luck in the year of the dragon

The Lantern Festival (yuán xiāo jié)

When: February 24, 2024 (15 days after the Chinese New Year)

Total vacation days: No vacation

Good to know: The Lantern Festival is an enchanting celebration, marking the grand finale of the extended holiday festivities. This holiday truly comes to life as lanterns of various shapes and sizes flood the streets, casting a captivating red glow and a beautiful atmosphere. One of the festival’s customs is eating Tangyuan, a sweet and colorful ball-shaped rice dessert representing togetherness and family unity.

Gift ideas for employees:

  • Greeting cards
  • Festival lantern
  • Rice dumpling

Common greeting:

  • Yuánxiāo jié kuàilè (元宵节快乐) – Happy Lantern Festival

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International Women’s Day (fù-nǚ jié)

When: March 8, 2024

Total vacation days: No vacation but some workplaces offer a half day off for women employees.

Good to know: International Women’s Day originated as a celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. However, in modern-day China, this holiday has evolved into a commercial opportunity. For brands targeting women, International Women’s Day represents a prime occasion for sales and promotions. Companies are also encouraged to show appreciation to female employees on this day.

Gift ideas for female employees:

  • Shorter working day
  • Small gifts: flowers, skin-care products, fruits
  • Activities at the office: a lecture, a nail spa treatment, day out just for the women, etc.

Common greetings:

  • Nǚshén jié kuàilè (女神节快乐) – Happy Women’s Day

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Tomb Sweeping Festival (qīng míng jié)

When: April 4-6, 2024

Total vacation days: 3

When local employees resume work: April 7

Adjusted working days: 1 (April 7)

Good to know: The Tomb Sweeping Festival honors Chinese’ deceased ancestors. On this holiday, Chinese families tend to the gravesites of their loved ones, cleaning tombs and offering burnt offerings meant for the afterlife. This over 2,000-year-old tradition demonstrates the Chinese’ immense care and reverence for their ancestors even after death. Interestingly enough, and perhaps because of the time of the year, another tradition around the holiday is traveling to enjoy the blooming scenery.

No gifting tradition: Since the holiday is dedicated to family memorial time, gifting employees or offering greetings is not customary. At most, companies may provide a half-day off upon employee request.

Labor Day (wǔ yī jié)

When: May 1-5, 2024

Total vacation days: 5

When local employees resume work: May 6

Adjusted working days: 1 (May 11)

Good to know: Labor Day, also known as May Day, honors Chinese workers and their contributions to the nation’s development. Given the holiday’s cultural significance, it is considered one of the three most important holidays in the country, with an extended vacation period. Therefore, it has become a peak tourist season, with millions traveling for getaways and family visits. In addition, the holiday features parades, cultural events, and workers’ rights campaigns, highlighting the achievements of workers while promoting labor-related themes and values.

Gift ideas for employees:

While no gift traditions are associated with Labor Day, local companies may opt to provide gift cards, especially larger Chinese firms. However, this is optional and not expected by foreign companies. Still, consider providing a small gift since it is an extended holiday.

Dragon Boat Festival (duān wǔ jié)

When: June 10, 2024

Total vacation days: 1 (combined with a weekend)

When local employees resume work: June 11

Good to know: The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. People celebrate by racing decorated dragon-shaped boats and eating Zongzi – sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. The festival commemorates the life of Qu Yuan, a loyal minister and poet from ancient China who drowned himself in protest against government corruption. Legend says locals raced out in their boats to save him or at least retrieve his body, hence the dragon boat races.

Gift ideas for employees:

  • Greeting cards
  • Food: Zongzi, tea, wine, regional and seasonal foods
  • Flowers

Common greetings:

  • Duānwǔ ānkāng (端午安康) – Wishing you peace and health for the Dragon Boat Festival

Double Seventh Festival (qī xī)

When: August 10, 2024

Total vacation days: No vacation

Good to know: The Qixi Festival is one of China’s Valentine’s Days. Although gifting employees isn’t obligatory, companies may choose to organize a special activity to celebrate. Such a gesture could demonstrate the foreign management’s cultural awareness and appreciation for local staff.


Mid-Autumn Festival (zhōng qiū)

When: September 15-17, 2024

Total vacation days: 3

When local employees resume work: September 18

Adjusted working days: 1 (September 14)

Good to know: The Mid-Autumn Festival is widely considered the second most important holiday after the Chinese New Year. Originally an agricultural festival marking the harvest season, it has become a cherished family reunion time. Customs centering on moon appreciation, from moon-watching to lighting lanterns and eating mooncakes, highlight themes of unity and togetherness. The full moon itself symbolizes family and harmony, with its luminous glow bringing people together.

Gift ideas for employees:

  • Greeting cards
  • Gift cards
  • Traditional treats: Mooncakes, hairy crabs
  • Food: fruits, nuts, pastries, wine, tea
  • Flowers

Common greetings:

  • zhōng qiū kuài lè (中秋快乐) – Happy Mid-Autumn Festival
  • yuè yuán rén yuán shì shì yuán mǎn (月圆人圆事事圆满) – May the round moon bring you a happy family and a successful future.
  • 皓月闪烁,星光闪耀,中秋佳节,美满快乐 – A bright moon and stars twinkle and shine. Wishing you a merry Mid-Autumn Festival, bliss, and happiness.

National Day (guó qìng jié)

When: October 1-7, 2024

Total vacation days: 7

When local employees resume work: October 8

Adjusted working days: 1 (October 12)

Good to know: China’s National Day commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. It is one of two Golden Week holidays when local employees enjoy an extended vacation of seven days for celebrations nationwide. During this time, businesses temporarily suspend their activities, and many individuals travel around the country to reunite with their families, leading to significant disruptions in regular business operations right at the beginning of Q4.

Tips for managers: The winter season (October-February) is the toughest recruiting period, as employees often prefer changing jobs after their Chinese New Year bonus. Nonetheless, it’s a good time to start recruitment processes, allowing time to avoid surprises.

Gift ideas for employees:

  • Greeting cards
  • Flowers

Common greetings:

  • Guóqìng jié kuàilè (国庆节快乐) – Happy National Holiday
  • Jiàqī kuàilè (假期快乐) – Have a nice holiday

China’s Singles’ Day (Shuāng shí yī)

When: November 11, 2024

Total vacation days: No vacation

Good to know: Also known as Double Eleven (11/11), China’s Singles’ Day is a unique phenomenon in the country’s calendar. While it’s not an official holiday, it has evolved into a festival of its own, centered around consumption – and not just for the singles! On this day, millions of Chinese consumers flock to e-commerce platforms to indulge in shopping, enjoying massive discounts and promotions. Singles’ Day has grown so much that it is now the world’s largest shopping day.

Social activities for employees:

Since Singles’ Day is a shopping festival rather than an official holiday, most companies do not observe it nor provide gifts or time off. However, like during Qixi – the Chinese Valentine’s Day – companies can organize a special activity to show respect for Chinese culture.

Final Tip: Be consistent

When companies choose to give holiday gifts to employees on major cultural or national holidays, it’s important to be consistent year after year. Random or inconsistent gifting on these occasions can confuse employees who may question the business’ circumstances. For example, if an employer traditionally gives flowers on Women’s Day, they should uphold this custom annually. Maintaining established traditions reinforces your commitment to your Chinese teams.

Wishing you a happy and successful year!

PTL Group