China marks National Day with fireworks, state dinners and flag ceremonies

October 1 marks the victory of a revolution that was set to change the 20th century – reinvigorating the ancient spirit of middle kingdom for a new role on the global stage

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The National Day of China celebrated on October 1 each year, marks the formal establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. There is a countrywide public holiday on this day commemorated with the display of fireworks, state dinners and flag ceremonies, not only in mainland China but also in China’s Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

On October 1, 1949, the Chinese Communist Party had emerged victorious against the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China (ROC) marking the end of Chinese Civil War. Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Communist Party of China, on this day, before a roaring crowd of 300,000 people, declared the formation of the People’s Republic of China. It was the day, Tiananmen Square, Beijing witnessed the first-ever parade by the new People’s Liberation Army.

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Although, technically speaking the Chinese had gained independence on September 21, 1949; but at a meeting of the Central People’s Government Council, on December 2, 1949 a resolution was passed regarding the National Day of the People’s Republic of China whereby October 1 was formally declared as the National Day. Ever since, each year, October invites large scale national festivities.

In 1999, the Chinese government, in an extraordinary move, decided to give a week-long holiday every year now known as the Golden Week, on the pattern of Japan’s golden week, to its citizens. However, only in mainland China, a week-long holiday is given; in Macao, two days are off, in Hong Kong one holiday is allowed.

The National Day represents national cohesion and resolve for the upholding of the predecessors’ sacrifices. It is a universal symbol of the country’s sovereignty

The Chinese people usually spend this time travelling with their families, going to amusement parks and watching special television programmes. Concerts and festivals are also held nationwide to mark the foundation day, so millions of citizens move across different cities thronging shopping malls, airports and hotels. Streets and government institutions are decorated with portraits of the founding figures and slogans of National Day.

In a show of strength, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) organises a grand combined civil-military parade, which includes both the paramilitaries and the armed police. Chinese people of all walks of life participate and watch this special parade, either in-person or on television from around the world.

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The National Day represents national cohesion and resolve for the upholding of the predecessors’ sacrifices. It is a universal symbol of the country’s sovereignty.

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