Children’s Day (儿童节 ér tóng jié) is a beloved holiday in China that celebrates the health, happiness and overall well-being of children. Falling on June 1st every year, Children’s Day traditions, festivities and wishes all aim to honor children and childhood.
History and Origins
The idea for Children’s Day originated from the World Conference for the Wellbeing of Children held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925. A resolution was made to establish an annual international Children’s Day to promote the welfare of children globally.
Many countries adopted the tradition of celebrating Children’s Day. In China, Children’s Day has been celebrated since 1949. The date of June 1st was chosen as it coincides closely with International Children’s Day on June 1st and accentuates the importance of youth in China.
Children’s Day emphasizes the growth, joy and innocence of childhood. It is a chance for families and communities to promote the health, happiness and knowledge of the next generation. The holiday provides an opportunity to reflect on issues affecting children in China and shapes the guiding principles for their care and development.
Traditions and Celebrations
There are many fun traditions and festivities associated with Children’s Day celebrations in China. Here are some of the most popular ways the holiday is commemorated:
Gifts and Treats
It is common for parents, relatives and teachers to shower children with small gifts and treats on Children’s Day. Popular presents include toys, stationery, clothing, snacks, and money in red envelopes called hóng bāo (红包). Many schools and communities host parties with fun activities and sweet desserts. Treating children to their favorite foods and surprises is an essential part of the celebrations.
Performances and Competitions
Children are the stars of the show on June 1st! Schools, community groups and parents organize a variety of special performances and competitions for kids to participate in. These activities showcase children’s skills and talents through song, dance, arts, sports and more. Some common events include talent shows, dancing/singing competitions, sports tournaments, and fun field days full of games.
Children’s Day is also used as an opportunity to educate children and promote learning. Many schools and organizations host educational activities and events centered around science, nature, reading, arts, and culture. Museums may offer free admission for children and plan interactive exhibits and workshops. Zoos, parks and libraries often have special programming as well.
Media Content for Children
TV stations, radio programs, newspapers, websites and social media platforms focus their content on Children’s Day themes. Programing highlights the importance of childhood and may include segments on child development, health, education, entertainment, sports and news created just for kids. Popular children’s characters like Mickey Mouse often make appearances too!
Children’s Day Wishes and Greetings
Here are some popular Children’s Day messages, wishes and phrases to share in Mandarin Chinese:
- ér tóng jié kuài lè ! 儿童节快乐！ “Happy Children’s Day!”
- Zhù nǐ ér tóng jié kuài lè! 祝你儿童节你快乐！”Wishing you a happy Children’s Day!”
Celebrating in 2023
In 2023, Children’s Day falls on Tuesday, June 1st. Families, schools, communities and organizations across China will come together to honor childhood and promote the welfare of the country’s youth.
Children can look forward to receiving red envelopes filled with cash from their parents and relatives. Special activities, performances, competitions and educational events will let kids showcase their skills and talents. TV programming, radio shows, websites and social media will all cater content towards children for the day.
No matter how Children’s Day is celebrated, the common theme is bringing happiness to kids of all ages. The holiday highlights the joys of childhood and youth, while also raising awareness for issues impacting children’s health and wellbeing. Happy Children’s Day!
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