Tomorrow sees the 70th anniversary of the PRC, and a full seven days’ worth of national holiday to savour.
Ceremonial events take place in the days leading up to October 1st and last through the following week, but most naturally concentrate on the eve of the holiday, leaving people to then focus on enjoying themselves.
In the latter stages of September, life continues as normal, except for the additions of double Chinese flags extended on every lamppost, celebratory slogans across bridges, and National Day themed programming on both radio and television.
Schools seem to organised the largest scale events. All students of every age dress up smartly, sing eulogies like in my example below, wave plenty of flags ranging from small to gigantic, and interspersed with rousing speeches.
Like the Spring Festival, heightened awareness towards the environment and concern over air quality has drastically reduced the extravagance of fireworks displays, and the private use of fireworks is far less than in my first years here.
Here is a good moment to explain a peculiarity of long holidays in China. Overseas residents in China both past and present will undoubtedly know this first hand.
Over extended national holidays like the National and Labour Days, public sector workers are guaranteed the full number of consecutive days, but are required to make up at least one day over the weekend, either before or after.
This year, the Sunday of September 29th and Saturday of October 12th are when people must repay the generosity a full week long holiday. So in effect, public workers are only better off to the tune of five days overall.
During this time, countless millions will take to roads, rail, and the air to take full advantage. As the sun is forecast to shine upon the grand occasion, I’m sure many a person more will join in.
As I possess an innate dislike of traffic jams and jostling crowds, I have chosen to again enjoy the delights of a relatively deserted inner city, and the relaxing possibilities this phenomenon entails.
So, over this next week, I have a good number of interesting plans which I would like to share as the holiday progresses, including the Jialing River ferry.
For now then, I would like to wish everybody worldwide associated with China a happy National Day Holiday!
I’ll end for now with a popular National Day song that I’ve heard almost constantly the past week. Below, you can watch a video of the song, plus Chinese lyrics with an English translation.
My motherland and I
Are never apart
Wherever I may be
I will sing a song of praise
I sing of every high mountain
I sing of every river
Curling smoke, little villages
And ruts in the road
My motherland most dear
My heart will always be close to you
You speak to me with a mother’s pulse
My motherland and I, like sea and spray
The spray is a child of the sea
The sea nurtures thespray
Every time the sea smiles
I become a whirlpool
I share the worries of the sea
And the happiness of the sea
My motherland most dear
You are the sea that never dries up
You bring me clear and gentle waves
And a song in the heart