Category Archives: Chinese Holidays

Free Books About China

A couple of years ago I wrote a few ebooks about Chinese life and culture with my son Nathaniel. We wrote about Chinese snacks, going to a Chinese kindergarten and celebrating the Chinese New Year. The stories are short and simple (I was working with a four year old at the time!) and we included some pictures and then I published on Amazon’s Kindle platform. They sell for $2.99 each or are free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.



I consistently sell a lot of these books around Chinese New Year and, over all, they have been downloaded by thousands of people. But few people take time to leave reviews…and I’m hoping you can help.


Through Tuesday, January 10 the following titles will be free for download:
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to download and read one or more of them and then leave a review to help boost the rankings.

Win A Copy of

Knocked Up Abroad Again

For each review that you leave on my books, (one per book, of course) I’ll enter you to win a copy of Knocked Up Abroad Again, an anthology of 26 stories of women who’ve been pregnant, given birth or raised kids in countries other than their passport one. If you have it already, another book can be substituted.


Bonus: If you buy/read/review MaoMao and the Nian Monster by Anna Zech, I’ll give you another entry. Anna’s become an online friend over the last year, and I purchased her book a few years ago when it first came out. A great introduction to Chinese New Year with beautiful illustrations.


After you write your reviews, please email me at Charlotte Edwards Zhang (at) gmail (dot) com (remove the spaces and format it correctly…I just don’t want a lot of spam after posting this) with the title of the book you reviewed and your Amazon user name. I’ll also give extra entires for sharing on social media. Again, just send an email with the link to your post and I’ll give you another entry.


Reviews should be left before January 26, 2017 and I’ll choose a winner and post it while I watch the annual Spring Festival Gala.

Thanks so much and all the best for a wonderful Year of the Rooster.


Children’s Day In China


China has quite a few holidays that aren’t celebrated in many, if any, other countries. One that falls into the “not celebrated in many countries” is International Children’s Day which is on June 1 each year. Interestingly, it’s celebrated in 47 countries and on the second Sunday in June in the USA. I never knew that until I just looked it up.


Until this year, I found the holiday to be frivolous. In a country where most children are only-children, and their parents and grandparents’ lives revolve around them, it seems that every day is children’s day. But this year I had a new perspective on the holiday.


With my son in the local public school, I realized that this was the one day, of the whole 10 months, that there was no homework. On weekends he gets homework for every day. During the Chinese New Year, he had homework every day. There’s never been a day on which he hasn’t had at least some homework to finish. But on Children’s Day, there was no homework.


It was wonderful!


Of course, the day wasn’t without it’s annoyances. He had to be at school, in makeup, at 6:30 a.m. to prepare for the program. He’d volunteered to be in the first grade performance. About 20 kids from the three classes sang a song. Other grades, and even groups of kids, had skits, songs and dances. The program started at 7:30 and lasted until 9:00. Then he got to go home for the rest of the day.
We bought ice cream.
We played with Legos.
We all took a noon nap.
We read books.
We even watched a movie, something we hadn’t done in months!


I could really get used to this “no homework for a day” thing and am eagerly anticipating Children’s Day 2016!

Holiday Schedules in China

Growing up, my schools always made yearly schedules of which days we’d be off of school for teacher meetings and special events, when Christmas, Easter and summer break started and ended. The most difficult thing about planning our vacations was waiting for my dad to get his chance, in January, to pick his four weeks for the year. Once that was done, my mom wrote  could consult it to make travel plans without hesitation.
This kind of situation would almost never happen in China, save for a family that works for international companies and has the kids enrolled in international schools. Even then, it would highly depend on who’s running said company and school.
When I was teaching there were almost always last-minute changes. One year I went back to America during the Chinese New Year. I planned to come back just two days before school started, and I did. I called the school to find out my work schedule and they said that there was still another week of the holiday; something had come up which caused them to change this.
Another example, at the beginning of this semester we were told that exams would be February 2. I have in written in my planner. This past weekend I talked to my son’s music teacher and she told me exams would be February 6 and school would be out around February 13. And once he is actually done for the semester, we have no idea when school starts until the teacher calls us.
Be flexible and go with the flow. You’ll just get frustrated and angry if you don’t.
I do think you’ll find schools in large cities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai) to be a bit different since they’re dealing with more people and from larger areas.
There is an official Chinese holiday schedule that’s put out by the government. You can view it as a neat infographic here. Most companies and schools follow it. The key word being ‘most.’
But back to the public sector. My husband is lucky enough to work in a small hospital where holidays are pretty strictly adhered to. He and his colleagues take turns working on holidays (yes, they just have a bare-bones staff there on holidays), as do employees of other government owned enterprises. A lot of stores and restaurant will be open, taking opportunity of all the people who have extra time and cash.
The Chinese New Year is the exception. During that week, our town is like a ghost-town. Shops used to be closed almost the entire seven days. My first year here, my friend and I went out traveling and returned on New Year’s Eve to find that everything, except KFC, was closed. We’d been gone a week so we’d emptied our fridge and had little to eat at home. A lot of chicken was consumed that week! Now shops and markets are usually closed for at least 2 days and have limited hours on the other days. Restaurants and shops that employ migrant workers close up for as long as a month so they can return home.
Before the New Year, it’s essential to stock up on anything that you’ll need for at least a week. Also be sure to pay your bills since you may or may not be able to pay for electricity when you find it turned off during the holiday. I have run out of electricity before, fortunately not at the holidays.

Chinese Dumplings RecipeStep-By-Step Guide to Making Chinese Dumplings


Chinese New Year Chinese dumplings
Freshly made dumplings

Do you like eating those delicious packets of meat and veggies otherwise know of as jiaozi? I do enjoy them from certain restaurants, and we always eat them on the Chinese New Year but we don’t often eat them at home. They are time consuming to prepare, especially if you make the wrappers from scratch, but are a great activity for the whole family to enjoy. Even toddlers can get involved in the process!


Earlier this year I wrote a blog post for My Kids’ Adventures on how to introduce kids to the Chinese New Year and make homemade Chinese dumplings, or jiaozi.


You can learn some of the history behind the country’s biggest, most important holiday, see pictures of us making the dumplings and get a yummy recipe for dumplings and dipping sauce over at My Kids’ Adventures.

Chinese New Year Chinese Dumplings
Piping hot chinese dumplings or jiaozi filled with pork and cabbage.