A Bit Of Context Before The Break: What Is Chinese May Holiday About

As many are finishing packing their suitcases, China is gearing up to celebrate the May Holiday (五一节), also known as Labor Day (国际劳动节) or International Workers’ Day, which takes place from May 1st to May 5th.

But do you know why this special holiday holds a significant place in Chinese culture and history?

A Bit Of History

庆祝五一国际劳动节 (Celebrate May 1 International Labor Day) poster, 1951

Internationally, the concept of a day to celebrate workers' rights and achievements originated in the United States in 1886. It later evolved into International Workers' Day, a day to honor the contributions of workers around the world.

The history of the May Holiday in China dates back to the early 20th century. It is believed that the first Labor Day activity in China occurred on May 1st, 1920.

During this time, there was a growing movement to improve working conditions and rights for workers. Between 1921 and 1922, activists worked to educate ordinary workers, establish unions, and advocate for better conditions in factories and workplaces.

Just a month after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, May 1st was officially declared Labor Day, cementing its place as a significant holiday in China.

What About Today?

Over the years, the duration of the May Holiday has varied, from seven days in 1999 to four days in 2019, to now being five days

As it spans across several days, the May Holiday is now a time for people in China to take a well-deserved break from work and enjoy some leisure time

Cities come alive with excitement as people travel, visit family and friends, and explore new places. It is indeed the best holiday to appreciate the importance of work-life balance and how essential it is to relax if we want to be productive in the long run!

Smaller Cities On The Rise

Tianshui Majishan Grottoes, Trip.com

As noted by CGTN, 2024 is marked by a noticeable shift in travel trends toward smaller cities, as fourth-tier cities and below, particularly those at the county level, have shown significant growth in travel bookings, outperforming national averages. 

Online travel platforms report that smaller towns, such as TianshuiXuzhou, and Zibo, are attracting more young tourists during the five-day Labor Day holiday period.

Xishuangbanna, Yunnan

The May Holiday is the perfect occasion to visit family and friends, relax, and discover new places! For many, it is also an opportunity to use this time off work to focus on their personal projects or plan their next adventure in a new city or country!

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