Before 2008, International Labor Day was one of three long holidays during the year, along with Spring Festival and National Day. Like every other so-called “Golden Week” this inspired enormous crowds, jacked up prices, and severe shortage of resources in tourist areas. Around 2008 the government realized that if the holidays were a bit more spread out workers would be happier and fewer old ladies would get punched in the face for the last train ticket. And so, Labor Day was reformed from a week long holiday into a three day one, and three other holidays were given official recognition.

These holidays, Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Festival), Duanwu (Dragon Boat Festival) and Middle Autumn Day, were not new creations, but rather traditional holidays that were reinstated in 2008. These holidays all enjoyed official status during the Republican period (1912-1949), but saw it revoked with the rise of a new government determined to wipe out old superstition. However, recent years have seen interest in preserving traditional culture rekindled in China, and these holidays have accordingly been transformed from something to be ideologically reviled to a way to preserve and continue aspects of China’s unique cultural heritage like respect for ancestors, love of nature, and punching old ladies in the face.