Holidays are supposed to be fun, giving the masses some deserved time off so they can relax, celebrate and enjoy life.
That is, anyway, the Western concept of a holiday. In China, things are different.
In May, China announced a new national holiday on Sept. 3 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, otherwise known as the date on which Japan surrendered. China officially designated the date last year as Victory Day and celebrated it for an entire month through various events, such as the airing anti-Japanese dramas on TV.
But this year, workers get time off! Why is 70 years such an important milestone?
For starters, the holiday was announced pretty much immediately after Xi Jinping attended Russia’s 70th anniversary Victory in Europe Day celebrations, which was essentially a giant military parade. No surprise, then, that China is also planning to celebrate the end of WWII with a giant military parade of its own. (News that China would be holding a military parade broke at the beginning of the year, though it was unclear when.)
Secondly, given China and Japan’s current tense relations, I’m pretty sure China just wants to rub Japan’s defeat — and its own rise — in Japan’s face. What better way to do it than with a giant military parade!
Did I mention there will be a giant military parade?
This parade is set to consume Beijing. It is so important that China is shutting down Beijing’s international airport for three hours. This closure was, of course, not announced until five days ago. I’m not really sure how the second-busiest airport in the world will deal with all the frustrated passengers who, upon hearing about the holiday in May, booked themselves a trip out of town. Suckers!
Besides that, China announced a whole slew of restrictions that will go into effect over the coming weeks, culminating on the day of the parade. Authorities will crack down on motorcycle and scooter owners. They must be properly licensed to buy gas. The alternating license plate system will limit the number of passenger cars on the road. Factories will be closed. And delivery vehicles won’t even be allowed in the city (unless it’s during the dead of the night) for the two weeks before the parade, which means no one can receive anything they ordered online. For two weeks.
So that’s how China celebrates its holidays. I hope it rains during the parade.