Chinese Festivals and Tourism

Introduction

Chins as a country holds a significant place in a global context and one of the factors that contributes to this is its reach traditional festivals. The festivals attract many people to China to witness or tack part in the festivals and also means a lot to the Chinese people to the extent that there are common trends developing among the Chinese people during these festivals. Among these festivals include the Tomb Sweeping Festival, New Year Festival among other festivals that will be discussed in this paper. These festivals are as per the Chinese calendar which runs differently as the calendar used by the majority globally. However, they fall on specific seasons and these attracts tourist which impacts on the country in a number of ways; both as to the reputation of the nation and financially as will be discussed in detail in the paper.

Types of Festivals

The various Chinese festivals have been celebrated for a long time in the history of the nation and have been carried on from generation to generation. Chinese festivals are therefore key to the Chinese people and make fundamental parts of their culture. This has been acknowledged other people around the globe who jet into China during these festivals take part in them whereas some of the festivals are even condemned by other quarters due to the manner in which they are celebrated. A new meaning is also given to the festivals by the Chinese people probably due to changes in the modern world and China’s immense economic growth.

The Quin Dynasty which was probably between 221 BC and 206 BC. This dynasty united China and Chinese people. It is this unity that led to celebrations to mark various occasions in the Chinese people’s lives that were carried on to form the traditional festivals that Chinese people pride themselves in today. Chinese people came to incorporate more traditional festivals in the calendar in two different dynasties after the Quin Dynasty and these include the Han and the Tang Dynasties. The latter was even better as it brought about sobriety in the way these festivals were carried out as there was more entertainment than backward trends such as sacrifice and taboos.

The types of Chinese festivals in existence today are more of folk customs. The excitement and the brisk in these folk cultures is what keeps Chinese people away from work on the calendar date within which the festivals fall so that they can take part in the same.

There certain aspects of these festivals that can never be washed away in as much as civilization and modernity is the trend of today in most parts of the world. In china, these festivals show the ethnicity gaps. The festivals are mostly celebrated by the majority ethnic group in China and Chinese speaking states and thus in a way shows slight discrimination against minority ethnicities which should not be the case. This is probably because the festivals celebrated by the minority ethnicities are not recognized by the calendar.

Chinese cultural festivals shows pride in the history of the great nation. Festivals such as the Dragon Boat Festivals are commemorated to remember important times and important persons in the history of China. The historical sense put into the various festivals ensures that the nation’s heritage is passed from generation to generation and thus it is kept a live for the longest time possible.

Festivals: Seasons and Periods

There are numerous festivals celebrated in China in a Chinese calendar year and vary from one ethnic group to another in the country. However, there are those that are celebrated by everyone across the nation at various seasons and periods in a calendar year. These are discussed in detail in subsequent paragraphs.

The Zhongqiu Jie festival is among the most celebrated festivals in China. This festival falls in autumn and is commonly referred by people outside China as the mid-autumn festival.  Using the Chinese calendar, this festivals falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month but varies with the calendar used by many across the globe as they run differently. This is also a time when the moon is out; explaining why others refer to it as the moon festival.

What happens during the Zhongqiu Jie is honouring of the dead. Chinese people reserve this time to the remembrance of their ancestors who had passed centuries ago who had significant impact on their lives and in this way keep their legacies from generation to generation.

Another festivals, the Chongyang festival; loosely translated to the double ninth festival is held in China on the ninth lunar month and exactly on the ninth day of this month, thus the double ninth festival tag. This is a festival celebrated by almost everyone in China and joined by other tourists from around the world in commemoration of a legend in Chinese history.

The Chongyang festival involves cake eating, wine drinking and mountain climbing. Those who participate in it eat the Chongyang cake, drink the chrysanthemum wine and climb mountains as they pay homage to chrysanthemum. This marks the day a Chinese great in a legend narrative, Hengjing went down the Nu River to bring out an evil spirit that had caused diseases to Chinese people.

Chinese people celebrate the Qixi festival on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar. This festival is also referred to as double seventh day, the double seven festival or the Chinese Valentine’s Day.

The Qixi festival is marked by pictures of Chinese legend Niulang and the wife Zhinü. Chinese people celebrate this by giving gifts to love ones and also spending time with them. Flowers and chocolates are the most common gifts to be given during this festivals. People also take loved ones out to movies or to dinner during the Qixi festival or the double seventh day festival.

The tomb sweeping festival, known to Chinese people as Quingming festival, is celebrated on the fifteenth day after the equinox of spring. This usually falls in early April of the calendar year; probably 4th, 5th or 6th. This is a day that all the Chinese people remember their ancestors.

Qingming festival is marked by a number of activities by the Chinese people and these include seeping and cleaning tombs where ancestors were buried. Food is also given to the ancestors and this is accompanied by worship of the ancestors. Finally, joss paper is burnt to commemorate this day.

The biggest traditional festival in China is definitely the Chinese New Year festival. This festival is celebrated at the turn of the Chinese lunar calendar and it is like the New Year festival celebrated all over the world on January 1st of every year. This is undoubtedly the biggest festival for Chinese people.

The Chinese New Year goes by other names such as the spring festival or the lunar New Year. During this time, a number of things are done to commemorate the celebrations. Among the things done include decorations, gathering together as friends and families, visiting friends and families, launching fireworks and giving gifts which are normally in red envelopes. Further, traditional Chinese dances such as the lion dances and the dragon dances are performed.

The fifteenth day of the first Chinese lunar month marks the celebration for lantern festival in China. This is celebrated to mark the end of the New Year period, or rather to bring to an end the New Year celebrations.

Anyone visiting China at this time will be treated to one of the best ever spectacles. Thousands of thousands gather in streets of major cities across the nation with lanterns in music and dance. This is done in resemblance of lightened dreams and new expectations at the turn of a new lunar year.

Another festival that the Chinese people regard highly is the dragon boat festival, fondly known as the Yuen Ng or the Duamwu festival. This festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This borrows from Chinese traditions and has been incorporated as a statutory festival in the country.

The dragon boat festival is celebrated even by non-Chinese citizens as tourists from around the globe including the United States, Philippines, India and Mongolia among other nations gather in china to share in the traditions of the Chinese people.

How Chinese Festivals affect tourism in china

The various Chinese festivals have affected tourism in china in a number of ways, both in terms of tourism import and tourism export. This paper will focus on how tourism has affected China in financial terms and how it has helped build or tarnish its reputation on a global level.

Financial impact of Chinese Festivals and Tourism

China has grown ass an economy and the greatest factor towards is tremendous economic growth is attributed to its prowess in international trade. The return of foreign exchange earned from the trade for some time in the past saw the Chinese Yuan gain against the dollar. As compared to other destinations in the world; China was not that open to tourism until in the twenty first century whereas the festivals were celebrated by the Chinese people in the republic of China.

Chinese people who were well off developed a tradition of moving out of China during these festivals, probably to Europe or America to shop and have their time off work with their families as some of the festivals are public holidays. This threatens to weaken the Chinese currency and strengthen other foreign currencies such as the dollar and the sterling pound.

If the out bound tourism which is contributed by some of the Chinese people adding a new meaning to some of its traditional festivals as a time for flying out and making the best out of the short precious holiday; it will lead to fluctuation in the economy of the nation as it takes from the gross domestic product of the nation and adds onto other nations that are direct competitors of China as a nation on the global scene.

On a lighter note. The traditional festivals attract millions of tourists into China every year and the highest numbers witnessed in the year two thousand and fifteen. This in turn helps remedy the outbound tourism and add onto the gross domestic product of the country and thus the economic development under the tourism sector remains constant or even higher. The impact of outbound tourism due to Chinese traditional festivals is moderate whereas the festivals have marketed China attracting tourists from within Asia and abroad to come and witness the festivals.

Having acknowledged the blip realized in China due to its outbound tourism; it is only natural that for some time its stock exchange realized some kind of vitality that perhaps many economist would fear for an economy that is fast growing like the economy of China. This has affected majorly of the first class citizens in China who invest in the stock market. However, the vitality is soon turning into a blessing and the stock exchange is finding stability and among the factors contributing to this includes the Chinese festivals which are in turn attracting tourists into the nation. The Chinese government has done well by making some of them statutory festivals with holidays and thus attracts not only tourists but investors and in a way or the other mitigating the risk of an economy relying on income generated outside the country.

Reputation

The various festivals in China have given China a face and also attracted criticisms from various quarters around the world. What stands out is that China has given itself an image of a culturally rich nation. Most of the traditional festivals that have tarnished China’s image are those that involved activities the ‘modern’ society regards as outdated or backward or against certain rights.

Chinese people are more confident and proud of their culture which is manifested in their festivals. This has gone to give a brand for various designers both in clothing and architectural design as designs are inspired by the rich culture represented in the Chinese festivals.

Within China, the festivals represent Chinese people more than their national cultures; the red and the bright yellow. The festivals bring out various characters of the Chinese people and informs designs which are very popular to the people. The products that register the highest sales in China are those that have a touch of the Chinese tradition which is manifested in the various festivals they have. These designs and deep love for culture and tradition are always at display in Chinses festivals attended by tourists who pick up this to market China on the global scene.

Chinese brands are represented in international brands thanks to their deeply rooted culture and annual festivals. This has given China a face among international brands. Many acknowledge the reserved nature of the Chinese culture and this made it difficult to find itself among international brands. However, with the various festivals that are carried out on an annual basis, this culture is exposed more and there is much understanding resulting in positive impression on the global scene and finally representation of the culture in international brands.

There is however no good without a wrong as some of the Chinese festivals have faced condemnation within and beyond China. A festival like the dog eating festival has not only been condemned but has given China a bad face in a global context. Many people think that that was an act of cruelty towards animals and a festival that should be stopped. China however does not have any laws that prohibit dog eating and thus for the festivals to stop, the people needs to be appealed to at their own discretion. The tomb sweeping festival has also received some criticism for being backward and lacking aspect of modernity. However, these are cultures dear to Chinese people and they help build the face of China as a nation more than they destroy it.

Cases

There are a number of cases that point out to the financial impacts of traditional Chinese festivals on tourism and the reputation China as a nation has built for itself due to the traditional festivals it promotes among its people.

Maserati is a global brand and operates in major global markets including major cities of China such as Beijing. Having stated how outbound tourism affects China; Maserati was forced into the closure of a show room in the capital Beijing because most of the Chinese people who purchased their brand were of the wealthy class as their products are majorly luxury. This was because most of the wealthy class opted to fly out during the festivals to have good times and shop and thus almost making international luxury brands in China somehow redundant.

Onto the reputation of China as a nation, there was a Chinese cultural performance in London, the United Kingdom. This shows how the festivals earn appreciation of what China is traditionally is and the desire and appreciate not only China as a country but also as a country that has lots of positives to offer.

Conclusion

To conclude on this; China is among a few group of nations that boasts of several cultural festivals celebrated across a calendar year. These festivals mean a great deal to the Chinese people and they even get time off from work as far as a few festivals are concerned so that citizens can take in the festivals. The festivals have brought a prestige and prosperity to the Chinese tourism industry translating into financial gains. However, China loses some of the money that should have been spent within the nation due to outbound tourism which is normally during these festivals. However, tourism as boosted and the impacts of outbound tourism has been mitigated. These festivals should forever be upheld with only those that disregard life or creation scrapped off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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