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Festival created to celebrate harvest, giving farmers their day in the sun

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The nation will celebrate Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival on the autumn equinox on the Chinese lunar calendar starting this year, Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said on Thursday.

China DailyUpdated: June 22, 2018

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The nation will celebrate Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival on the autumn equinox on the Chinese lunar calendar starting this year, Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said on Thursday.

The festival, the first in China created specially for farmers, reflects the high priority the central government places on rural areas and agriculture, as well as its determination to see a thriving agricultural industry, beautiful countryside and well-off farmers, Han said at a news conference in Beijing.

The State Council Information Office of China held a press conference on Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival in Beijing on June 21, 2018. [Photo by Liu Jian/China SCIO]


Autumn equinox is one of the 24 solar terms in the lunar calendar and marks the midpoint of autumn.

This year, autumn equinox falls on Sept 23, a Sunday, one day before Mid-Autumn Festival, which gives urban people a great opportunity to travel to the countryside and enjoy the scenery and celebrate the harvest with farmers, Han said.

Although climates and crops differ in various parts of China, most crops mature in autumn, which is why the government chose to celebrate harvest festival at the autumn equinox, he said.

The festival should celebrate farmers, and they are encouraged to think of their own ways to celebrate harvest, Han said.

Some activities will be held nationwide, but most of the celebration will take place at a local level derived from local customs, he said, adding that local governments could host various activities for the festival, such as folk culture performances, food tasting, feasting and sightseeing.

Extravagance and waste should be avoided in the celebrations, he said.

Thirteen ethnic groups in China have their own festivals at harvest time, and countries around the world celebrate harvest in their own ways, offering a pool of experiences that China might benefit from, Han said.

As a major agricultural country, China has the largest number of farmers in the world, and its annual grain production has reached 600 million metric tons for five consecutive years, he said.

"I'm sure the festival will become one of the most popular, rich and influential ones in the world," he said.

Shen Jianhua, professor at Nanjing Agricultural University, said farmers deserve a special festival since they have made great contributions to ensuring food security and the livelihoods of the people.

Setting up the festival can improve the status of farmers, increase their self-esteem and create an environment that respects and values them, Shen said.