(China Daily) As early as last year, Zhou Hongyu, a deputy to the National People's Congress, the nation's top legislature, advised making the Lantern Festival a public holiday and he said he intends to raise the proposal again this year, as it will better enhance traditional culture.
This has provoked a lot of discussion on social media. Some say the Lantern Festival is only one week after the end of the week-long Spring Festival holiday, and it is unnecessary to have two holidays so near to each other. Others call for prolonging the Spring Festival holiday to two weeks so that Lantern Festival is included.
The NPC might forward Zhou's proposal to the relevant department for consideration. However, another problem emerges: In an age of consumerism, most of the holidays have become shopping festivals. If Lantern Festival is included as a public holiday and becomes another shopping festival, that won't enhance traditional values as Zhou hopes.
Besides, many people travel thousands of kilometers to their hometowns for family reunions during the Spring Festival, which puts a lot of pressure on the railways and roads. If Lantern Festival becomes a new public holiday, it will be hardly possible for people to make a trip back home for reunion again. Thus it makes no sense to make it a public holiday.
More information is needed for the government to decide whether or not to accept Zhou's advice.
Recycling a=outmoded traditions in the name of "culture" is retro. If people feel like celebrating traditional holidays, why does the government have to declare national holidays? Some of those recycled ideas sound immature and a tad nationalist like the new fad of wearing Chinese traditional garb to rival the dress codes of minority nationalities.