Zhou Hongyu, a deputy to China's National People’s Congress, last year proposed turning the Lantern Festival – celebrated on the 15th day after Chinese New Year – into a national holiday. He intends to raise the proposal before the nation's top legislative body again this year, he told The Paper.
Zhou said the change would bolster traditional Chinese culture because the festival – traditionally a day of family reunion – often falls on weekdays, meaning most people have to work through it.
Responding online, some said it was unnecessary to have two holidays so close together (Chinese New Year is also a holiday). Others said the Chinese New Year holiday could be lengthened to two weeks and include the Lantern Festival, giving people more time with their relatives and friends.
Others pointed out that as China becomes increasingly consumeristic, most holidays have become shopping festivals – and if the Lantern Festival goes the same way, it won't end up enhancing 'traditional values' in the manner Zhou hopes.
Further, if the Lantern Festival becomes a separate public holiday, there's little chance people could return home after already making the journey for Chinese New Year – given many Chinese live thousands of kilometers from their hometowns.