The Chinese city of Hangzhou, which is hosting the 19th edition of the Asian Games, wore a festive look on Sunday. The city was suffused with red as countless five-star red flags were put up along its main roads and important buildings. Chinese people, young and old, were out on the streets holding the national flag aloft with pride. Some even have had their faces and dresses painted in red.
They were celebrating the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China which fell on October 1. Notably, this year's National Day celebration was held on a grand scale. One may doubt whether the Chinese authorities decided to hold the continental event in September-October to show the world their national pride and brotherhood.
I asked Yi Chiang, a volunteer at the Games Village, whether the national day was a public holiday. He broke into laughter and said, "Not one day, we have an eight-day holiday to celebrate the national day."
The legal holiday for Chinese National Day is three days in mainland China. However, October 1 this year is not the first but the third day of an eight-day holiday in China that combines both the mid-autumn festival and the national day.
As most businesses and factories in the country remain closed, employees across all industries, including the private sector, are sitting at home and spending time with their families. There is a festive spirit and cheerful mood in the air as the Chinese are busy wishing each other "Guoqing ri kuaile" (happy national day) and "Jieri kuaile" (happy holiday).
It is a rare opportunity for the Chinese to take a lengthy vacation. Besides, this holiday is also special because it marks the first in post-COVID China. That is the reason why the week-long holiday is called the 'Golden Week'. Since the long vacation is expected to see a big boom in travel and leisure activities, tour operators across the country have rolled out attractive holiday packages for families.