International Children’s Day, or Liuyi, is possibly the second happiest day for kids in China of the whole year (Chinese New Year being the first, because who doesn’t love those little hongbao stuffed with cash?)
It’s celebrated all around the world on various dates; in China it’s always the first day of June and according to Chinese law, kids under 14 get the day off to enjoy some childish summer delights. For the rest of us, it’s a perfect chance to re-discover our inner child
While it’s meant to be a day filled with fun, the history of the holiday itself is a bit less sweet. Children’s Day was first declared a national holiday by the Republic of Turkey in 1929, but it didn’t become an international celebration until November 1949 in memory of the Lidice massacre, which took place during the Second World War in the Czech Republic.
Athena Lao via Flickr.
To commemorate the children’s lives lost during the war, and especially in the massacre, the Women’s International Democratic Federation’s congress established June 1 as International Children’s Day in order to promote better welfare and human rights for children. The holiday was later adopted by the United Nations, although the UN officially recognises the day as November 20.
When the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, the Party selected Children’s Day to be a half-day holiday, which was changed into a full-day holiday in 1956.
Many schools in China hold festivals, outings and performances for children to enjoy their special day. Public parks, attractions and shopping malls have promotions for children or on kids’ products, too.
Kids under 14 enjoy free admission to the Forbidden City
on June 1, and an accompanying parent also gets half-price admission. So whether it's sightseeing you fancy or just a chance to gorge on ice cream in the name of cultural celebration, Liuyi kuaile!