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Why understanding the Chinese festivities calendar is important for China Manufacturing

By Jesus David Cano Romano
September 28, 2015

China is characterised to have multiple festivities and national holidays along the year which are important to be taken in count when Manufacturing in China as the factories stop activities and this can affect your project timelines and also having a good communication with your manufacturing partner in some important dates can affect your guanxi which is very important when making business in China.

Chinese festivals are a primordial part of the country’s history and culture, both ancient and modern. A close relationship exists between many of the traditional festivals and chronology, mathematics, the Chinese Calendar and the twenty-four solar terms. Many of the customs connected with the traditional festivals have links with religious devotions, superstitions and myths.

Traditionally China has always used the lunisolar calendar with month length determined by lunar phases. But with the end of the empire in 1911, china switched to the internationally used Gregorian calendar or sun calendar used broadly in the western world. However the lunisolar calendar still has strong influence on the Chinese people and economy.

Some of these festivals include the Chinese New Year, and the Moon Festival, which change every year because its relation to the Moon’s phases. The lunisolar calendar has a significant effect over the Chinese people’s lives. Many of them still use this calendar to schedule some important events such as marriages, days to take out loans, and even haircuts.

Lets take a quick overview on the main Chinese Festivals and yearly events

Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival is the most important Chinese Festival. It begins on the first day of the first lunar month, and marks the year of a new animal on the Chinese zodiac.

The Chinese calendar is based on a 12 year cycle, with each year marked by a different animal imparting its distinct characteristic. There are also animal signs assigned by month, day and hour. Many chinese people believe that the year of birth its the primary factor in determining personality traits, physical and mental attributes, degree of success and happiness in life.

The Spring Festival week, is the largest of China;s two annual golden weeks where Chinese workers get at least 3 days off work. Chinese factories shut down for the holiday and then some, with hundreds of millions of migrant workers heading to their hometowns, part of the world’s largest mass movement of people. In the lead up to the holiday, factories run flat out to fill orders before shutting. The holiday itself runs a week during the end of January up to mid-February , but workers start setting off as much as two weeks earlier on packed trains and buses. After the holiday they may take the same amount of time to return, or not.

It all means an annual headache for retailers and importers overseas who rely on China. Shipping companies warn customers that China’s transport and logistics networks are at capacity and their shipments must be at ports two weeks ahead of the holiday to stand a chance of getting on a boat before the country shuts down. This year, shipping delays are compounded by a slowdown at U.S. West Coast ports.

Moon Festival

On the 8th full moon of the lunar year comes the Moon Festival. On this night, the moon is at its brightest. Friends and family gather together to enjoy the moonlight and of course eat mooncakes!

This Festival is the equivalent of Thanksgiving Day and its origins go back to ancient times, when people would get together on the 15th day of the 8th moon (around September or October in our Calendar) on a day of thanksgiving for a good rice harvest. This is the time when crops and fruits are at their best and the weather is pleasant.

In ancient China, emperors would make offerings and sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn.

An so it is also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. Autumn in the Chinese Calendar falls on the seventh, eighth and ninth lunar months.

Nowadays, families and friends get together to celebrate at home or by taking part in one of the many festivities around town.

In celebrations around the world, there are the usual Dragon Parades, Lion Dances, lantern carnivals, colorful markets, etc.

National Week

Every year from October 1st to October 7th there’s the second national golden week this time to remember the founding day of the PRC, in this week streets are adorned with patriotic flags and flowers. Normally the factories will be off between 3-7 Days.

But how does this events affect your China Manufacturing Projects; as any manufacturing project would have a time line and lead times for manufacturing, not taking in count this holidays where China stops can affect the time lines and also delay your project, for which is better to plan ahead this dates so you man make sure your China Manufacturing project will be completed in the planned lead times.