Open main menu

National Day of the People's Republic of China

The National Day of the People's Republic of China is a public holiday in the People's Republic of China to celebrate the national day, and is celebrated annually on October 1.[3]

National Day of the People's Republic of China
National Day decorations - Beihai Park.JPG
Beihai Park in 2004
Observed byAll of the People's Republic of China including Hong Kong and Macau
TypeHistorical, cultural, nationalist
Celebrationsfestivities, including fireworks and concerts
BeginsOctober 1
EndsOctober 3 (official)
Another four days are added to the official 3-day holiday, normally in lieu of the two weekend breaks around October 1, making it practically a public holiday comprising seven consecutive days (黄金周/Huángjīnzhōu, "Golden Week"), with specifics regulated by the State Council[1]
DateOctober 1
Next time1 October 2019 (2019-10-01)
National Day of the People's Republic of China
Traditional Chinese國慶節
Simplified Chinese国庆节
Tiananmen Square, 2006 National Day of the PRC. The placard reads "Warmly celebrate the 57th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China". The portrait is that of Sun Yat-sen.[2]



The PRC (People's Republic of China) was founded on October 1, 1949, with a ceremony celebrating the forming of the Central People's Government taking place in Tiananmen Square on the same day that year.[4] The first public parade of the new People's Liberation Army took place there, following the address by the country's first president Mao Zedong officially declaring the formal establishment of the Republic. The Central People's Government passed the Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China on December 2, 1949, and declared that October 1 is the National Day.[5]

National celebrationsEdit

The National Day marks the start of the only Golden Weeks in the PRC that the government has kept. Removing one of the Golden Weeks caused controversies when it happened in 2007.

The National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organized festivities, including fireworks and concerts, as well as sports events and cultural events. Public places, such as Tiananmen Square in Beijing, are decorated in a festive theme. Portraits of revered leaders, such as Mao Zedong, are publicly displayed.[6] The holiday is also celebrated by many overseas Chinese.

Wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument to the People's HeroesEdit

From 2004 to 2013, a national wreath-laying ceremony was held on National Day in Tiananmen Square following the flag raising ceremony on years with no parades, with the ceremony focused on the Monument to the People's Heroes, built in 1958 in remembrance of the millions of Chinese who perished during the long years of national struggle. Beginning in 2014, they have been held on a new holiday, National Memorial Day, set on the eve of National Day, September 30, and is presided by the President of the People's Republic of China and other party and state leaders.

National flag raising ceremonyEdit

For many years, the 6am National Day flag raising ceremony is the more important act on years without any anniversary parades. Held at the Tiananmen Square, since 2017 the Beijing Garrison Honor Guard Battalion's Color Guard Company is present for the ceremony with the National Marching Band of the PLA, until 2016 the Beijing People's Armed Police units provided men for the ceremonial color guard. The ceremony is open to the general public and tourists and is widely televised.

National civil-military paradeEdit

The biannual civil-military parade of the People's Liberation Army, People's Armed Police and the Militia together with representatives of the people of all walks of life, which was a feature of the day since the first parade of 1949, and is also televised on China Central Television since 1984 (and broadcast around the world from that year as well via satellite and cable television), is a key highlight of the national celebrations in Beijing. Since the parade of 1950, parades have been held on the city's Tiananmen Square to mark the anniversary of the official foundation of the PRC and today these have been held every 10th year (a format which began in 1999 to mark the golden jubilee anniversary of nationhood), formerly there were yearly parades held until 1959 and parades were also held in 1964, 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1984.

The parade is presided by the President of the People's Republic in his political duty as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and constitutional mandate as both the supreme commander of the PLA and chairman of the Central Military Commission, since 1984 he has also inspected the parade in person. The parade commander is a general officer of the PLA with the rank of Lieutenant General or Major General, with the position of commander of the Central Theater Command or as a high ranking member of the CMC's present 15 departments. Until 1959, during the years that the parade was held in a nationalized form of the Soviet tradition, the parade was inspected by the Minister of National Defense, a high-ranking billet occupied by either a General or (before 1984) a Marshal. The event's master of ceremonies has either been the Party Committee Secretary of Beijing or a high ranking member of the Central Committee, CPC.

Opening of the paradeEdit

At 10am the massed military bands of the People's Liberation Army sound the Welcome March, signifying the official commencement of the ceremony. As the President arrives, he is joined by the following on the rostum on the Tiananmen Gate:

  • Vice President of the PRC
  • Premier of the State Council of the PRC
  • Chairmen of both the Standing Committees of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
  • High ranking officials of the Politburo Standing Committee and the other departments under the Central Committee, CPC
  • Vice Premiers of the State Council of the PRC
  • Vice Chairmen of the Central Military Commission and members of the departments of the Commission
  • Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court
  • Prosecutor General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate
  • State Councilors
  • Vice Chairmen of the Standing Committee of the NPC and the National Committee of the CPPCC
  • Secretaries of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China
  • Retired leaders of the party and the Republic
  • Ministers of the State Council and heads of national government agencies with ministerial status
  • Members of the diplomatic corps and any foreign heads of state and/or governments present if any
  • If available, provincial governors, city mayors and heads of the Party provincial and municipal committees

A huge card stunt display is assembled at the square grounds while student battalions of the Young Pioneers of China are assembled in the sides of the Massed Bands, led by the Senior Director of Music of the PLA Military Bands Service, made up of around 1,900 male and female bandsmen from the service branches from military bands stationed nationwide.

The flag raising ceremony follows the arrivals, but unlike the normal ceremony the color guard company, as a 21-gun salute is fired, marches off from the sides of the Monument to the People's Heroes, forms up, and takes its place at the center of the grounds nearest the Massed Bands, with the Flag of China now being placed into the flagpole by the color officer, who has just been given the color from the color guard. The segment was introduced in 1999 as a reenactment of sorts of the raising of the national flag in the square in 1949.

With that concluded and the card stunt now in position, the master of ceremonies gives the announcement on the microphone: Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the raising of the national flag and the singing of the National Anthem! The color officer the orders the salute and the massed bands play the National Anthem March of the Volunteers as the color company presents arms, after the anthem is played the color company orders arms and stands at ease.

Inspection of the paradeEdit

As the linemen of the Beijing Capital Garrison take their places, the President then descends to the grounds of the Tiananmen Gate via the elevator and rides on an open top Hongqi L5 for the inspection segment, with around 3,000 to 11,000 military personnel of the PLA, PAP and militia formations assembled by battalions, as well as the 5,000 strong personnel of the mobile column with around 400-860 vehicles. As he arrives at the front of the gate at the Chang'an Avenue, the parade commander arrives in a similar limousine to inform the president of the commencement of the inspection of the parade.

The report done, the President, as the Massed bands play, then inspect the formations, each of its leaders ordering a salute as he passes by. Since 1984 the regular honor guard companies of the Beijing Garrison Honor Guard Battalion (since 2015 the final company is a women's company) are the first in line for the inspection segment of the parade.

Following the inspection, the President returns to the Tiananmen Gate to give the national keynote holiday adresss, at the same time the commander takes his place in the gate as well and the parade formations are now formed in review order.

Military parade properEdit

The order Commence the parade! from the parade commander atop Tianamen Gate is the signal for the parade formation to march past the gate, wherein the dignitaries are gathered, while the crowds are assembled on the stands around the gate which include veterans of the PLA, Young Pioneers, representatives of state and private businesses as well as the civil service and the diplomatic corps and foreign press representatives. As the Massed Bands play the Parade March of the PLA, a special parade version of the Military Anthem of the People's Liberation Army, the ground column marches first as the President and other party, state and military leaders take the salute of each of the contingents marching past the saluting stand. Since 1984 the regular honor guard companies of the Beijing Garrison Honor Guard Battalion, including the aformentioned female company, are the first to march past the dignitaries, led by the colour guard carrying the flag of the PLA, which serves as the defacto national colour. Each of the battalions that march past are provided by:

  • National Defense University
  • Military academies and officer cadet schools
  • PLA Ground Forces
  • PLA Navy
    • PLA Marine Corps
  • PLA Air Force
    • PLA Airborne Corps
  • PLA Special Operations Forces
  • People's Armed Police
  • China Militia of the CMC and NDMC

Until the parade of 1959, the PLA, PAP and militia marched separately during the parade proper.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 黄金周/Huángjīnzhōu, "Golden Week"
  2. ^ China at 60: Nostalgia and progress | Fu Ying | Comment is free. The Guardian (2008-07-16). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.
  3. ^ Flag-raising ceremony held for China's National Day celebration_English_Xinhua. (2009-10-01). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.
  4. ^ "China National Day: October 1st, Golden Week".
  5. ^ National Day celebrated across China _English_Xinhua. (2009-10-01). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.
  6. ^ Fri, Oct 02, 2009 – China celebrates with elaborate display of power and ideology. The Irish Times (2009-10-10). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.

External linksEdit