2015 China Legal Holiday Schedule, Netizens Still Complain

Chinese New Year fireworks.

There is always a lot of public and online complaints in China when the legal holiday schedule is determined and released for the upcoming year. One constant debate is whether or not Chinese New Year’s Eve (February 18 for 2015) is made a legal holiday. The reason is because the festivities for Chinese New Year aka Spring Festival begins on Chinese New Year’s Eve, usually involving a family reunion and dinner. If it is not a legal holiday, many Chinese who must work that day find it difficult to get home in time for this important meal, especially if they are white-collar migrant workers who work in a city different from their hometown where most of their family resides.

First below is the just released official Chinese holiday schedule for 2015, along with netizen complaints. Second is a popular article from earlier this month about the Chinese government soliciting public feedback on whether or not to make Chinese New Year’s Eve a legal holiday, also with netizen complaints.

From Sina Weibo:

@央视新闻 [CCTV News]: #2015 Holiday Schedule# Released: Chinese New Year’s Eve Off — ① New Year’s Day January 1st to the 3rd off with weekend shifted, and work recommencing on the 4th (Sunday). ② Spring Festival/Chinese New Year: February 18th (Chinese New Year’s Eve) to the 24th off with weekend shifted. ② Tomb Sweeping Day: April 5th off, with day off on the 6th. ③ International Labor Day: vacation starts May 1st combined with the weekend. ④ Dragon Boat Festival: June 20th to 22nd. ⑤ Mid-Autumn Festival: September 27th. ⑥ National Day: October 1st to 7th off, with work recommencing October 10th (Saturday). Pass this on!


Comments from Sina Weibo:


Can we just have 15 days off for Spring Festival? This is our big holiday. Ding this up.


What’s the deal with Mid-Autumn Festival? It was already the weekend.


Always using the weekends to shift days off, I can’t even be bothered to complain anymore.


Forwarding this on to everyone. After all, policemen work year round without any holidays. [呵呵]


Mid-Autumn Festival has been eaten. [拜拜]


No extra day off for Mid-Autumn Festival?


Seven days for National Day. I think three days is enough for National Day, and give the three extra days to Spring Festival.


#2015 Holiday Schedule# Mid-Autumn Festival! [委屈] What happened to you, Mid-Autumn Festival! [生病] Wake up, Mid-Autumn Festival! [可怜] Do you know you’ve been eaten by the weekend! [泪]


Okay then, so even with Chinese New Year’s Eve off, Spring Festival is still just 7 days, so when are we ever going to be able to get 10 days or 15 days off?


Chinese New Year’s Eve is among the most important Chinese traditional holidays. On this day, not only must the home be cleaned inside and out, we also have to put up door gods, Chinese New Year scrolls, Chinese New Year pictures, and go to work. Fuck fuck fuck

Example Chinese New Year's Eve dinner dishes.

Example Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner dishes.

From NetEase:

Spring Festival Holiday Poll: 70% of People In Favor of Vacation Starting from Chinese New Year’s Eve

Remin University of China Research Center says: survey questionnaire reveal lopsided situation

Yesterday, Remin University of China’s Research Center publicly began soliciting responses through public sampling surveys, internet polls, and other methods concerning the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year’s legal holiday schedule. The research center says this survey “was commissioned by the relevant [government] departments and offices”. This is the first opinion poll concerning vacations/holidays since the National Holiday Office was reorganized into the State Council Ministry of Tourism. At time of this article’s submission, the survey revealed a “lopsided” situation, with about 70% of participants supporting the Spring Festival long holiday starting on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Survey only has three questions

In 2013 October, the former National Holiday Office conducted a survey concerning the scheduling of legal holidays using the internet and such methods. According to the new holiday schedule that resulted, while January 30 was Chinese New Year’s Eve, it was still to be a working day, and this angered a lot of workers. One year later, the National Holiday Office has been dismantled and in its place is the Statue Council Ministry of Tourism Joint Meeting System. As such, the “relevant departments and offices” mentioned in the questionnaire is even more thought-provoking.

Now, approximately two months away from Spring Festival, despite Spring Festival long ago already determined to be a seven day long holiday, how it will be scheduled has yet to be made public. The questionnaire made public yesterday is extremely concise, with a total of three polling questions: “At present, our country’s Spring Festival legal holiday is a total of three days off, and made into a 7 day long holiday through the shifting of the weekend. Do you prefer that the 3-day legal holiday for Spring Festival be from Chinese New Year’s Eve (the last day of the lunar year) until the second day of the new lunar year, or from the first day of the new lunar year until the third?”, “What is your age?”, and “What is your occupation?”

Survey results lopsided

Of the three questions in the survey, netizens only really care about the first one: Just when should the Spring Festival vacation holiday start.

As of the time this journalist submitted this article, 70% of respondents support Spring Festival starting from Chinese New Year’s Eve, 25% of respondents support it being from the first of the new lunar year to the third, and approximately 5% of respondents expressed no opinion. Respondents are aged between 20-40, with the vast majority being company office workers.

With regards to this internet poll as well as the delay in announcing the Spring Festival holiday schedule, there has been a lot of discussion by netizens and city residents. One netizen worried: “Train tickets for Chun Yun [Spring Festival Rush] go on sale 60 days before [Spring Festival], so there isn’t much time.” Another netizen appealed: “It should be from Chinese New Year’s Eve until the seventh day of the new lunar year [8 days off].

Despite the current survey results being “lopsided”, city resident Mr. Guo still voted for “from the first of the new lunar year to the third”. Mr. Guo says: “Probably very few employers insist on having their staff work until 5-6pm on the last day of the year. Most let their workers off in the afternoon, so whether or not Chinese New Year’s Eve is off [as a legal holiday] or not doesn’t matter. On the contrary, if [the legal holiday] is from the first of the new lunar year to the third, coupled with employers giving this half-day off, then the Spring Festival long holiday is virtually seven and a half days to eight days off.”

Experts views

Increase legal holidays

Tourism expert and Beijing Tourism Association Vice-Secretary Liu Simin said during an interview with this Beijing Morning Post reporter that because many employers start the vacation on Chinese New Year’s Eve, which day the government starts the holiday is actually not particularly important for local city residents. Migrant workers too don’t really care if it is Chinese New Year’s Eve of the first of the new lunar year. “There are approximately 250 million migrant workers, and Chun Yun is 40 days. Very few migrant workers wait until the 28th, 29ths, or 30th [last days of the lunar year] to start heading home, with the majority already returning to their hometowns before this, so the impact of whether the holiday starts on Chinese New Year’s Eve of the first of the new lunar year isn’t very big to them. Those for whom there is a real impact are non-migrant workers who have stable jobs working outside their hometowns and stricter company management. It is these tens of millions of people who are actually concerned about which day the vacation starts. For this group of people, when Spring Festival starts is rigid. If the vacation starts on the first of the new lunar year, they may not be able to make it back for the Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner.

Liu Simin believes the Spring Festival long holiday problem cannot be solved with discussion about which the day the holiday begins. Instead, increasing the number of legal holidays is the only way to increase the people’s happiness. “Currently, there is inelastic demand with regards to Spring Festival for those who return home to visit family and those who use it to travel for vacation, while paid leave is often not implemented, so I suggest adding legal holidays in May and August, and extending the Spring Festival long holiday to 9 days. This way we can satisfy the people’s demand.”

Beijing Jiotong University tourism expert Professor Wang Yanyong supports the Spring Festival holiday vacation beginning on Chinese New Year’s Eve. He says, “The core of Spring Festival is those several hours from 11pm on Chinese New Year’s Eve until the early morning of the first day of the new lunar year. This is China’s traditional culture. If having the vacation start on the first of the new lunar year makes it impossible for some people to be reunited with their families for that important period of time, then it completely fails to match our country’s agricultural holiday traditions.”

Comments from NetEase:

网易广西柳州市手机网友 ip:125.73.*.*

China’s traditional Spring Festival holiday is from Chinese New Year’s Eve until the fifteenth day of the new lunar year. Those who support a vacation from Chinese New Year’s Eve until the fifteenth, click the right [upvote button].

网易广东省手机网友 ip:106.123.*.*

Start the vacation on Chinese New Year’s Eve! Those in support, click upvote!

网易山西省晋城市手机网友 ip:218.26.*.*

Spring Festival’s true core is from Chinese New Year’s Eve until the fifteenth.

楚小豆 [网易北京市手机网友]:

Even if you don’t make it a legal holiday, people will ask for time off/to be excused from work. Who on Chinese New Year’s Eve is in the mood to work? Would there be any work efficiency? What wrong, what grudge is there?

6e68a79ddd5f9dcd02265ad4 [网易江西省手机网友]:

Only 70% of people in support, what kind of jobs do the remaining 30% have?

南极垂钓 [网易山东省威海市手机网友]:

Are you sure those being surveyed are all Chinese? Are you sure those being surveyed are all of sound mind?

网易重庆市綦江县手机网友 ip:61.161.*.*

I don’t want the vacation to start on Chinese New Year’s Eve, because regardless of whether it is a legal holiday, Chinese New Year’s Eve will definitely be a day off, so having the vacation start on the first of the new lunar year means an extra day off.

醉臥沙場[朝鲜平壤手机用户] [网易江苏省手机网友]:

Can the vacation start on the nineteenth?

灬土豆喳喳灬 [网易陕西省西安市手机网友]:

Having the vacation start on the first of the new lunar year is still better. At the very least, the bosses of private companies/employers are more humane [nice] than the government. This way, most company bosses will give their employees an extra day off for Chinese New Year’s Eve, and then it’ll be eight days off! If the country starts the vacation on Chinese New Year’s Eve, then work will definitely start again on the seventh day of the new lunar year!

网易四川省凉山州手机网友 ip:118.120.*.*

Nine days off? I highly praise [this suggestion].

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  • FYIADragoon

    Laughed at the policeman comment. They’re certainly in the office without holidays. Can’t say much about them doing any work though.

  • moop

    I would fucking destroy that table spread

    • Jahar

      I like how fruit salad is a part of dinner.

      • Toasty

        2 days ago i was presented with steak accompanied by fruit salad….. At least the one in the photo doesn’t seem to have the strange mayonnaise type stuff they love to put on it.

  • Jahar

    God these schedules crack me up. It’s not a 7 day holiday if you lose 2 days on the weekend. My students at work and teachers at school always talk as if they get a 3 day holiday for dragon boat, tomb-sweeping and all that. It’s one day and your weekend gets moved. That doesn’t make it a 3 day holiday.

  • Toasty

    Why have they just released this information now? In any organised country this sort of information is released years in advance. In fact I will go as far as to say the inability to make a plan, is the number 1 thing that annoys me most about China. So many times I have been called by friends/colleagues to “come now” and do whatever, and when you tell them your busy now they seem surprised.

    Why cant they think more than 15 minutes ahead? I’m desperately hopping there is a logical reason. If so please enlighten me…

    • hyuugasaki

      this, especially if you want to take holiday on january or february.
      -to get a visa for some countries, you need to get letter from your company
      -to get the letter from your company, you need to apply annual leave first
      -to apply for annual leave, you need to wait for government’s holiday schedule.
      -the government holiday schedule is out 8 days before new year.

      good thing my company understand and I can get the letter first, then arrange the leave when the schedule is out.

      they should announce first half 2015 holiday on july 2014, and the 2nd half 2015 holiday on january 2015, and so on.

    • Cynic-Al

      There’s usually a footnote to the schedule that says the gov’t holds the right to amend the schedule. It’s ludicrous. The lack of regard for the people is astounding.
      “Can I take a holiday, big brother?”
      “We’ll let you know!”
      Everything else here is inefficient, why would this be any different?

    • Mateusz82

      You just answered your initial question… China is not an organized country by any stretch.

    • wha…

      I read somewhere, from someone who lived in East Germany (back when there was such a thing), that this is a hold-over from communism as it does not allow for planning, and therefore takes away people’s ability to plot events that would pose a threat to the regime.

  • Rick in China

    “Chinese New Year’s Eve (January 18 for 2015)” I think you mean February 18th for 2015. Kids call it the “longest school term evar”, yes, it indeed is a strange late CNY…..

    • Robert Clarke

      Because this (Chinese/Lunar) year had an extra September…Only happens every 100 and something years! But for people working and students it’s a killer!

  • Gary

    Does it actually work out to even one day off? It’s all just working on the weekends to exchange for weekdays. Like some sort of national flex time.

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