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Citizens Long for More Legal Holidays

China will celebrate the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival on September 28 this year. Even though most Chinese are chasing modern lifestyles these days, many still cherish a taste of tradition when it comes to festivals.

The China Youth Daily Social Research Center and Sina Culture jointly conducted a survey of 363 people. When asked whether the country should observe Mid-Autumn Festival by making it a national holiday, 86 percent of the respondents said yes.

Although more than 90 percent agreed that traditional Chinese festivals should not be neglected, the ways in which they are celebrated received low ratings across the board. Even activities for Spring Festival -- the most important of traditional holidays and the only one that currently warrants concomitant legal holidays -- only got an approval rating of 27 percent.

Many respondents, however, enjoy celebrating Valentine's Day by buying roses. This imported Western holiday is still a novelty in China.

Many of the respondents said that they are bored with the traditional methods of observing festivals. In part this is because they usually have to work, so that a celebration means nothing more than eating a rich meal. Mid-Autumn Festival has become "moon cake day" and the Dragon-Boat Festival has evolved into "zongzi (leaf-wrapped rice dumplings) day."

In an increasingly prosperous China, eating rich foods is no longer a rare and special treat. People want to celebrate in ways that make the day unusual.

Respondents also complained that rampant commercialization reduces their pleasure in the traditional festivals.

(Shanghai Daily, China.org.cn September 14, 2004)

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