While not as mysterious and magical as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the Middle Kingdom had its ups and downs with more than 28 dynasties, a Republic and a People’s Republic over the course of 4000 years. As China’s congress sit for the 19th time, its political importance and significance often dwarfs the festivities of last week where a nation of 1.4bn simply just packed up and headed home for a week long worth of holidays. Beneath are some interesting reads capturing the spirit of these festivities.
Golden Week? What Golden Week?
China celebrated its National Day last week with an entire week of holiday. Whilst unknown to many foreigners, that moment in history was captured in an obscure (at least to the outside world) painting called the The Founding Ceremony of the Nation (开国大典):
This painting is one of the most celebrated works of official Chinese art and tells the story of not only the moment when Chairman Mao Zedong and other Communist officials inaugurated the People’s Republic of China at Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949 but also the dark period following the inauguration: Political purges and political rehabilitation of those who fell out of favour. Unlike normal historical paintings, this painting went through multiple revisions with the painter (and subsequently his students) “deleting” persons who fell out with Chairman Mao years after the event. In total, this famous painting was officially revised 4 times and exist in at least two versions (The original painting and a subsequent replica made to accommodate further revisions which cannot be made on the original).
Read more about this celebrated work here:
On a long road during the long break
As one of the two important holidays in China, the National Day Golden Week may involve one of the modern marvels in China with some 650 million people travelling within China over the course of a week. By comparison, Thanksgiving only saw around 50 million people travelling in the United States. Naturally, the crowds were frightening and the traffic jams so extreme that mainstream news portals warned travellers to take extra precautions, posting survival guides and warning of the dangers of dehydration and heatstroke.
Read more here about how the Chinese people deal with such problems as though they are just part and parcel of everyday life.
Just for laughs, here are some of photos taken during the last week sourced from around the web:
Thank goodness I did not have to visit China then. Phewww.
Did you experience China’s Golden Week? Let me know in the comments below.
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