Welcoming October with a one-week vacation! If you don’t realize that something big is around the corner then you must be hiding in a cave!
You’ve probably walked past train ticket booths every day without really noticing. Not your fault! They’re nondescript and you probably don’t make regular trips to the train station. But in the past week or two you probably have noticed these tiny hole-in-the-wall places, over-crowded with dozens of Chinese people waiting in massively long queues that trail out along the sidewalk. What’s the occasion? The up and coming week-long break for the holiday known as guóqìng jié (国庆节) or National Day.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded on October 1, 1949 and since then, October 1st has been commemorated China’s National Day. October 1, 2009 marked the PRC’s 60th anniversary, a massive milestone for which Beijing held a grand celebration that included an army procession in Tiananmen Square. National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-led festivities that include but are not limited to fireworks and parades. Public places, such as Tiananmen Square are decorated in a festive theme with portraits of revered leaders, such as Mao Zedong, on public display.
Best of all, this public holiday guarantees Chinese people a week off starting October 1st, turning the holiday into both a patriotic and economic fixture of the Autumn. This coming month, be on the look out for lots of deals on drinks and meals in restaurants and bars, visits to the salon, exhibits, operas, concerts, you name it. The month of October will be filled with events that we can all look forward to with our time off next week.
So, if you haven’t been lining up for a train ticket or bought a plane ticket for somewhere outside the city yet, then consider staying in Beijing and taking that time off to take advantage of all the wonderful things this city has to offer. Most importantly, celebrate this time with friends in your home away from home. Aren’t we all so lucky to be here in China, so cherish and enjoy it!