May 1, or Labor Day: 五一劳动节 Wǔ-Yī Láodòngjié, is a national holiday in China. Chinese people don’t need to go to school or work from May 1 to May 3.

Before 2008, people in China had seven days off during the May 1 golden week (黄金周 Huángjīnzhōu). Now they can only rest for three days, as other festivals such as the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 Duānwǔjié) have intervened and become national holidays.

Still, May 1 Labor Day is incredibly significant and distinct.

The History of May 1 Labor Day in China

The idea of celebrating Labor Day in China dates back to 1918. In that year, Chinese revolutionary intelligentsia started to hand out flyers devoted to May Day (五一 Wǔ-Yī) in major Chinese cities.

On May 1, 1920, workers held demonstrations and gave public speeches in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Consequently, these activities raised people’s awareness of the exploitation of the working class.

By December 1949, the Chinese government announced Labor Day a national holiday to be celebrated on May 1 every year.

How do Chinese people celebrate the Labor Day holiday?

The three-day holiday now functions more like a “long weekend” in China. People still look forward to it, but they don’t participate in any public activities.

A good rest is what most Chinese people are looking for on the holiday.

What do people do on May 1 Labor Day in China?

Labor Day is a good opportunity for people to spend time with their family and friends. Some Chinese people also like to travel a bit to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Meanwhile, many Chinese women prefer to stay at home and immerse themselves in their favorite TV dramas.

Hanging out with Friends

Many people love to have a joyful celebrations on May 1 Labor Day holiday in China. Having lunch or dinner with friends is ta lot of Chinese people’s favorite thing to do.

It’s not only a good chance to catch up with friends, but also an ideal choice for people to enjoy themselves in a relaxing atmosphere.


Famous scenic spots are packed with tourists during the Labor Day holiday. People are willing to queue for one or two hours just to take some photos and post them on WeChat (微信 Wēixìn).

Young people in China tend to plan their trips in advance. However, elderly people prefer to join tourist groups so that they don’t need to worry about the itinerary.

Since the Labor Day holiday only lasts for three days, many people choose to visit tourist sites close to home.


Some Chinese girls choose to go shopping during the Labor Day holiday. As many fashion stores understand the desire to shop, they offer discounts to customers throughout the holiday.

Due to the pandemic, the government advised against travel abroad on the Labor Day holiday this year. Thus, large shopping malls in major Chinese cities became popular destinations for shopaholics.

Working Overtime

Some people who don’t have anything particular to do during the Labor Day Holiday choose to work overtime if it’s necessary. They think it’s the most straightforward way to earn some extra money and leave a good impression on their superiors.



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