On October 1, Chinese people celebrate their National Day, which commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China: established in 1949 by way of a public event in Tiananmen Square. The majority of the celebrations take place in this famous square in Beijing, with military parades and portraits displayed of the country’s leaders. This year, however, although it will be the 65th anniversary of the birth of the People’s Republic, no such public exhibition is expected beyond the usual decorations and mass participation from Chinese nationals.

The National Day of the People’s Republic of China is sponsored by the Chinese government within mainland China (outside the country, celebrations simply take place in public institutions such as Embassies or consulates, for example) and is followed by the first of two Golden Weeks. During this time the country’s nationals receive a seven-day holiday. The second Golden Week begins with Chinese New Year, although the calendar changes annually. For example, some time ago, the 1 May celebration (Worker’s Day) also coincided with an additional seven-day holiday.

As this is not a festival with deep historical roots, and it is not exclusively promoted by the Chinese government, it is not celebrated by families sitting down together to eat traditional food. In fact, there are variations in the way this day is commemorated, depending on the city, with firework displays being one example.

Interestingly, this year it has become fashionable within social networks such as Weibo for users to show their patriotism by publishing a photo of themselves accompanied with the flag of the People’s Republic. This initiative was started in Australia by a PhD student, Lei Xiying, and in only a few days has provoked more than 200 million responses.