A lot of people know May 4th as Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you!), but in China, it’s also Youth Day!
What is Youth Day?
Youth Day was established to honour the May Fourth Movement, which was started by Beijing student protests on May 4th, 1919. The students opposed the Treaty of Versailles because it gave a large amount of land in Shandong to Japan. These protests, which started as a simple way for young men and women to make their voices heard, blossomed into a full-fledged cultural movement. Today, the May Fourth Movement symbolises patriotism, anti-imperialism, and political activism.
When is Youth Day?
Youth Day is on May 4th. This year’s celebration was particularly special because it was the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement!
How is Youth Day Celebrated?
On Christmas, families decorate Christmas trees. On Halloween, children dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. Unlike many other holidays, Youth Day doesn’t have any specific traditions, but there are still a lot of ways that people celebrate it. For example, this year, there was a flag-raising ceremony with 2,000 people in attendance!
Another way that people mark Youth Day is by celebrating China’s rich cultural diversity. Students from minority ethnic groups often perform folk songs and dances, wear traditional clothes, and share special dishes from their culture. Even abroad, Chinese youth use this day to come together and celebrate the spirit of China. This year, Chinese students studying at Israeli Universities held a public event where they expressed their patriotism via artistic performances. Back in the motherland, multiple universities came together to create a beautiful video about community. You can watch it here.
However, not all Youth Day celebrations are pure fun. Youth Day is also a time of introspection and solemn remembrance. Many students use this day to educate themselves on the May Fourth Movement and develop their own political philosophies—there’s a lot of debating! Other people take the opportunity to improve China through community service.
So, there isn’t a single way to celebrate Youth Day. Some people hold large events, and others have small discussions. Some people write essays and poetry, and others share a social media post.
The only real requirement for a proper Youth Day celebration is the spirit of progress and patriotism!