Shanghai has many unique traditional and modern festivals for visitors to enjoy. The following are some important ones listed in order of dates with schedules and brief descriptions for your reference:
New Year Bell Striking
Date: 24:00, Dec. 31 / 00:00 Jan. 1, every year
Place: Inside Longhua Temple, No. 2853, Longhua Road, Xuhui District
Feature: This is a traditional activity to celebrate the New Year. At midnight on December 31st each year, many locals, as well as foreign visitors, gather in the ancient Longhua Temple, waiting for the bell to strike 108 times, welcoming in the New Year. The bell striking ceremony is considered sacred. People believe that this ceremony can dispel unhappiness and bring good luck to the attendants in the next year. Visitors can savor New Year Noodles in the temple, join in the entertainment and dancing at the square or watch the fireworks display.
Yuyuan New Year Folk Customs and Lantern Festival
Date: The 1stto 18th days of the first Chinese lunar month, every year
(Jan. 31 - Feb. 17, 2014; Cancelled in 2015; Feb. 8 - 25, 2016)
Place: Inside Yuyuan Shopping City (close to Yuyuan Garden)
Feature: Lanterns are an indispensable part of Chinese New Year celebrations. During the festive period, colorful lanterns can be seen on Mid-Lake Pavilion and Jiuqu Bridge in front of Yuyuan Garden. These exquisite handmade lanterns imitate natural sceneries, animals or cartoons, with expressions of good wishes painted on them. The locals believe that the lanterns can bring good fortune to them in the New Year. There are performances of dragon and lion dances and Yangge, which is a rural folk dance popular in north China. Visitors can also participate in the game of guessing lantern riddles, which is a good way to learn about traditional Chinese folk customs and culture.
Peach Blossom Festival
Date: late Mar. – early Apr., every year
(Mar. 22 - Apr. 15, 2014; Mar. 26 - Apr. 16, 2015; Mar. 27 - mid Apr. 2016)
Place: Pudong New Area
Feature: It has been successfully held since 1991. Pudong has over 65 square kilometers (25 square miles) of peach trees. The trees usually start to blossom at the end of March, reaching full glory in the beginning of April. Datuan Peach Garden, Nanhui Peach Blossom Village, and Binhai Peach Garden are good places to admire these beautiful blossoms, whereas North City Folk Custom Village provides folk music and performances. Visitors can live a day as farmers or fishermen: fishing from boats or plowing fields. There are tasty country snacks to savor.
International Tea Culture Festival
Date: Apr. / May, every year
(May 30 - Jun. 2, 2014; May 30 to Jun. 3, 2015; May 30 to early Jun. 2016)
Place: mainly in Zhabei District
Feature: It is about a week long, focusing on Chinese tea. Tea is indispensable in the daily lives of the Chinese people. Tea has become known and favored by many foreigners since communications between China and other countries and regions have become more and more frequent. Tea's popularity is due to not only its taste, variety, ease of preparation and beneficial health effects, but also the cultural connotation it conveys. This activity is just in order to show the distinguished tea culture. The opening ceremony is always held in Shanghai, but the closing ceremonies are usually in southern cities that are famous for their tea productions. Tea specialists, delegations and tourist groups from all over the world come to the city. Visitors can come to learn the proper way of brewing tea, taste various precious teas, watch the exhibitions or attend lectures.
Longhua Temple Fair
Date: The 3rd day of the third Chinese lunar month, every year
(Mar. 29 - Apr. 2, 2014; Apr. 24 - 30, 2015; mid Apr. 2016, lasting 5-7 days)
Place: inside Longhua Tourist City, No 2853, Longhua Road, Xuhui District
Feature: Longhua Temple Fair has been held on Mar. 3rd of the Chinese lunar calendar every year. The fair has a history of over 400 years. On this day, many pilgrims and local people come to worship Buddha in Longhua Temple and shop for souvenirs. Visitors can come here to experience the traditional way of life of the local residents. There are also local opera and folk art performances to enjoy.