A year ago yesterday we celebrated Chinese National Day… in China. This holiday is always celebrated on October 1st and it commemorates the formation of the modern-day Central People’s Government. It was first established in 1949, although not on that very day, that the People’s Republic of China was born. Now, they celebrate with a week-long holiday called “Golden Week.” In addition to big parades and lots of extravagance in the capital city of China, there are LOTS and LOTS of fireworks… all week long, at all hours of the day and night (so much so that we may never be excited about fireworks again).
At QISS (Qingdao No.1 International School of Shandong), we got a week off for this holiday, and although I had DESPERATELY wanted to go to the Philippines with some of our best friends, the flights were way too expensive and we ended up staying in Qingdao. Golden Week is a huge time of travel for the Chinese, and therefore, prices for flights were SUPER expensive. Thankfully, we weren’t the only ones to encounter this problem. Several other families from our school also ended up staying in Qingdao for this holiday. Our friends, the Matthews, called us up and invited us out to Shilaoren beach (very close to our apartment) to set off some fireworks in celebration. We were excited to join in the festivities!
That night, we headed down to the beach. The weather was cool, but not cold and it was a bit windy; the tide was high. Piers and Lizzy brought sparklers for everyone, and the kids particularly loved these (“big” kids too). They also brought a HUGE box of aerial fireworks to set off. Piers took some cool time-lapse photos with his camera using the sparklers and we all had a great time!
Now one thing about foreigners on the beach is that we tend to draw a lot of attention… People always stop and ask to take photos of us or simply stand uncomfortably close and stare unabashedly. This night was no different. Even on our tiny corner of the beach, we drew lots of attention. There was a family that stopped by and ended up basically handing me all their kids for a couple of photos. One moment we’re just having fun with sparklers on the beach, the next, we’re in an impromptu photo shoot. It doesn’t bother me so much, but it sure does make me shake my head…
After all the sparklers had burned down, we set off the big box of fireworks. The kiddos covered their ears while we watched firework after aerial firework shot into the dark sky.
After we finished, we all said our goodbyes and headed back to our respective homes. This, having been our first experience with Chinese National Day, was a fun way to celebrate with friends! Thanks for inviting us, guys!