17 December 2007

China makes 3 traditional festivals holidays

The Chinese government on Sunday officially announced the scrapping of one of the country's three "golden week" holidays and introduced three new one-day public holidays.

The new national public holiday plan adds three traditional festivals -- Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon-boat Festival and Mid Autumn Festival -- to the list of public holidays.

The plan, which comes into effect on January 1, also increases the total number of national holidays from 10 to 11 days.

Each of the three traditional festivals will be a one-day holiday, according to the plan unveiled by the State Council, or China's cabinet.

The Spring Festival remains a three-day public holiday, but it will start one day earlier from the eve of the Lunar New Year, China's most important traditional festival.

The May Day holiday is shortened from three days to one day, while the three-day National Day holiday and one-day New Year holiday remain unchanged.

The government will continue to move the weekend days adjacent to a national holiday to form a longer holiday period so that people will have three days or seven days off in a row.

The New Year Day, Tomb-Sweeping Day, Dragon-Boat Festival, May Day, and Mid-Autumn Day then become holidays of three days each. The Spring Festival holiday and National Day holiday remain seven-day holidays.

The new plan contained no major revisions to the draft, which was published to solicit public opinions in early November.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the nation's top economic planning agency, said the new plan would uphold Chinese traditions and ease overcrowding on the three golden weeks.

The three week-long holidays -- Spring Festival, May Day holiday and National Day holiday -- were introduced in 1999 to boost domestic demand amid efforts to promote China's economic growth.

But hundreds of millions of Chinese traveling at the same time made transport and tourist destinations very crowded, making these holidays far from an enjoyable experience.
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