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China prepares for three-day weekend

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It's Friday! Well, it's the last working day of the week, as tomorrow is the Qing Ming Festival public holiday.

Since 1999, China has gathered its public holidays together into so-called 'Golden Weeks' - these took place at Chinese New Year, Labour Day in May, and National Day in October. The golden week holidays were established in order to boost consumer spending, as large numbers of people would take holiday at these times.

As the affluence of China has grown over the past decade, the original reason for establishing the golden weeks has become less important, and the downsides have become apparent - congested transport, full hotels, crowded tourist sites etc.

No doubt taking these concerns into account, the central government late last year announced the cancellation of the

usual May golden week, and its replacement with several single-day holidays, the first of which takes place tomorrow - Qing Ming Festival (清明节). The Chinese New Year and National Day holidays remain in place.

Qing Ming Festival falls on the 15th day after the Spring Equinox - one of the two days in the year that the night is equal in length to the day, which falls on March 21st.

Qing Ming is often known as Tomb Sweeping Day, as it is traditional for Chinese people to honour their ancestors on this day, by sweeping their graves and making offerings of food and pouring libations.

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