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Traditional Festivals May Be Made National Holidays
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The good news: There may be more new holidays. The bad news: Some current holidays may be shortened.

In the near future, people will probably have days off on traditional Chinese festivals such as the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Pure Brightness Festival (Tomb Sweeping Festival), said a sociology professor who is a member of a think-tank to the central government.

But the three seven-day "golden week" national holidays, Labour Day (May 1), National Day (October 1), and the Chinese New Year may be shortened so that the total number of holiday days will remain the same, said Zhai Zhenwu, a professor at the Renmin University of China, yesterday.  This cutback would be necessary to prevent the loss of too many working days.

"The changes will probably take place starting in 2008," he said. "The National Development and Reform Commission is in the process of drafting the policy."

Experts insist such arrangements are crucial to help preserve traditions. "If people still work during some traditional festivals, the younger generation will forget the significance of the days and abandon related customs, which are an essential part of the nation's intangible cultural heritage," said Liang Yanjun, a professor at Tianjin Institute of Finance and Economy at an earlier session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

A call by scholars for days off on traditional festivals started as early as 2004.

Ji Baocheng, president of the Renmin University of China and a deputy to the National People's Congress, has long advocated making four traditional festivals national holidays. They are the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Pure Brightness Festival and Chinese New Year's Eve.

The Lantern Festival, on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, is the fifth traditional festival waiting to be chosen as a national holiday.

(China Daily March 2, 2007)

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