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International Women’s Day in China: Happy Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day, as you likely know, is celebrated in numerous countries around the world. China is one of these many countries observing Women’s Day, and in particular women’s rights in China.

Learn more about International Women’s Day in China to get a better understanding of the Chinese culture and history of its women. At ChineseClass101.com, we hope to make learning about Chinese Women’s Day both exciting and insightful. So let’s get started!

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1. What is Women’s Day in China?

International Women’s Day in China, also called the “Three Eight Women’s Day,” is a celebration of women’s economic, political, and social achievements. Sometimes it is called “Three Eight” for short. Now, let’s look at China’s Women’s Day!

2. When is International Women’s Day?

A Woman Smiling

The first International Women’s Day was observed in the U.S. In 1911, more than 140 female workers from a textile factory in New York initiated a protest against unequal rights of women workers, but unfortunately died in a fire at the factory thereafter.

To commemorate this protest and protect women’s rights, the United Nations declared March 8 as International Women’s Day. China began its celebration of this day in 1949, and women enjoy a half-day off on March 8.

3. Reading Practice: How is it Celebrated?

Woman Smelling Flowers

Learn how the Chinese celebrate International Women’s Day across the country by reading the Chinese text below. You can find the English translation directly below it.

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中国是个多民族的国家,一些少数民族也有自己的妇女节,其日期、风俗活动各不相同,十分独特有趣。比如,云南的纳西族,把农历七月二十五定为”女神节”。这天,成年男女都穿着节日盛装,举行隆重的祭祀女神仪式,然后阖家团坐,享受丰盛的野餐。青年男女还要绕山走一圈,载歌载舞,结交知心朋友。
而云南的哈尼族人则庆祝”姑娘节” ,这一天主要是纪念古时为反对父母包办婚姻而跳崖自尽的姑娘悠玛,以示尊重妇女和婚姻自由。此外,农历五月初四是甘肃藏族的”女儿节”。这天,姑娘们由自己的亲兄弟陪同,穿上艳丽的节日服装,带上美味食品,白天上山采花对歌,晚上同小伙子互相敬酒,祝福幸福和吉祥。

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China is a country with different ethnic groups. Some have their own Women’s Day, of which the dates and customs vary, with unique and interesting characteristics. For example, the Nakhi people in Yunnan celebrate the “Goddess Festival” on the twenty-fifth of the seventh lunar month. Adult men and women dress up in costumes, holding a grand ceremony to worship the goddess. Then, family members sit together to enjoy a picnic. Besides this, young men and women walk around the mountain, dancing, singing, and making friends.

To commemorate a girl named Youma who committed suicide by jumping off a cliff in protest against a marriage arranged by her parents, the Hani people in Yunnan celebrate “Girl’s Day” to show respect for women and the freedom of marriage. The fourth day of the fifth lunar month is “Daughter’s Day” for Tibetans in Gansu. During the day, young girls are accompanied by their brothers, dressing up in colorful costumes and bringing delicious food, picking flowers on the mountain and singing to each other; in the evening, young girls and boys toast each other with blessings of happiness.

4. Additional Information

Beyond a half-day holiday, many companies, particularly state-owned companies, will give various gifts to female employees, such as a bathroom set, beauty kits, portable travel bags, and so on. Some also organize activities like get-togethers for female employees—take for example the women’s march in China.

Further, please note that while the day is called the “Three Eighth,” “Three Eight” is a pejorative term describing women who like to gossip or are stupid. You should be cautious with this word, because it is very offensive.

5. Must-know Vocab

Three Old Women Smiling and Laughing

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for International Women’s Day in China!

  • 康乃馨 (kāngnǎixīn) — carnation
  • 女士 (nǚ shì) — lady
  • 国际劳动妇女节 (guójì láodòng fùnǚ jié) — International Women’s Day
  • 巾帼 (jīn guó) — woman
  • 女性权益 (nǚxìng quányì) — women’s rights
  • 男女平等 (nánnǚ píngděng) — the equality of men and women
  • 时尚 (shí shàng) — fashion
  • 妩媚 (wǔ mèi) — charming
  • 养颜 (yǎng yán) — beauty
  • 美容 (měi róng) — cosmetology
  • 永葆青春 (Yǒng bǎo qīngchūn) — eternal youth

If you want to hear each vocabulary word pronounced, visit our Chinese International Women’s Day vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each word accompanied with an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

As you can see, Women’s Day in China is an important holiday for the country. Does your country celebrate International Women’s Day, or another holiday celebrating and respecting women? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Chinese culture and the language, visit us at ChineseClass101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Chinese learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in learning Chinese with your own personal teacher.

We hope you enjoyed learning about how China celebrates International Women’s Day. Keep delving into the Chinese culture and continue your hard work—it will pay off!

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