National Day Celebrations Begin in Tibet
October 1, 2018 marks the 69th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Republic of China, and to mark the occasion, the people of southwest Tibet held a multitude of activities ahead of the week-long National Day celebrations to celebrate the birth of a nation and the beginning of the new Motherland.
In the remote Numa Village, in Gar County of Ngari Prefecture, the villagers joined in the celebration of sports and culture that were organized by the local party committee and government office on September 29th. Starting with a flag-raising ceremony in the village square, throughout which the National Anthem was sung, the celebrations continued with horse races, wrestling, and many other activities, including the unique Tibetan operas. In Yadong County of Shigatse, people gathered in their thousands to watch a performance of marking the start of the celebrations, with a theme centered around the 40th Anniversary of the Reform and Opening Up, as well as the start of the National Day Celebrations. And in Nyingchi City, a special performance was held to mark the start of the National Day celebrations, with an evening gala show that showcased the developmental achievements of Nyingchi. The show also expressed the local ideas of promoting a prosperous future for the city and the Prefecture.
National Day is one of the two week-long celebrations in China that mark the most important holiday period, the other being the Chinese Spring Festival. Known in China as “Golden Week”, or Huángjīnzhōu, the National Day holiday is one of the times when people travel to explore new places or go to visit relatives in other cities.
Founded in 1949 by the Communist leader, Mao Zedong (known globally as “Chairman Mao”), the People’s Republic of China was officially formed on October 1 with a ceremony in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, following years of civil war after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. The first ceremony was the announcement by Mao Zedong of the formation of the People’s Republic of China, before a crowd of 300,000 people in Tiananmen Square, where he stood waving the newly-created Chinese flag.
Traditionally, the celebrations are most popular and biggest in the major cities, such as Beijing, in Tiananmen Square, where it all began. A flag ceremony starts the celebrations, flowed by a huge parade of China’s military forces, and then continues into state dinners which culminate in a huge fireworks display.
Originally, the celebrations were only for three days, but in 1999 the government expanded the celebratory period to a week, to give the people a seven-day vacation, similar in form to the Japanese “Golden Week”, from which the name of the holidays originates. Now, the week-long holiday is a major tourism period in China, and a time when tourist-based businesses can increase their profits massively.
Even in Tibet, the National Day Celebrations are a time of increased tourist activity, as hundreds of thousands of Chinese head for the plateau to tour around the mountains, lakes, and monasteries of the region. With a whole week to travel in, Tibet sees a huge increase in tourism around this time, and with the massive influx of Chinese tourists to the plateau, it is not always a good time to visit if you are not a fan of crowds.
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