The Chinese keep track of dates using the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Ancestors, or members of the family who have come centuries before, are very important in the Chinese culture, so a lot of Chinese holidays focus on the connection we have to the generations of people who have come before us.
Chinese New Year goes by another name, the Spring Festival. Every household in China, and proud Chinese abroad, will decorate their homes and get together for a New Year's Eve dinner. On New Year's Day they visit family and see parades. Communities with large Chinese populations, such as San Francisco, have large celebrations for Chinese New Year.
In the Chinese calendar, the ninth day of the ninth lunar month is a very special one. For the Chinese, the number nine relates to the positive idea of "yang." It also means "long time" and stands for longevity, or, a long life. Double Ninth day is also celebrated during Senior Citizen's week.
The Dragon Boat Festival is an occasion in the memory of Qu Yuan, a poet and writer from the Warring States period. He drowned in exile and locals, saddened by his death, went out in their boats to find his body. Every year, to this day, people row dragon boats in the river in memory of Qu Yuan.
Almost every culture believes that our link to the world of the dead is strongest in the fall. The autumn Ghost Festival honors the spirits of ancestors who return from the underworld to feast on gifts left by the living. It isn't a scary thing, though, because the ghosts themselves are called "Good Brethren."
Lantern Festival is the next holiday after Chinese New Year. Beautiful paper lanterns are displayed throughout every city, a custom that goes all the way back to the first century. Did you know that in China, there are five separate categories for paper lantern designs? All can be seen during the festival.
Education, youth and children are very important in the Chinese culture. They symbolize the growth of the nation and a hope for the future. Youth Day is celebrated hand in hand with Martyr's Day, a day when Chinese youth are reminded of China's historic and courageous martyrs who made China what it is today.