Shanghai Events and Festivals

(Shanghai, China)

Photo of the Grand Theatre on People's SquareThe Chinese city of Shanghai is well-known for its film festival, which was founded in 1993 and now takes place every year in June, attracting international attention and ranking amongst Asia's biggest of its kind.

During the rest of the year, much of Shanghai is alive with various cultural events, as well as large-scale celebrations of traditional Chinese national holidays and spectacular lantern festivals. Each October, the Shanghai International Arts Festival is a particular highlight when it comes to things to do. The city also enjoys a number of sporting events at this time of the year, including the Tennis Masters Cup at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena in October, which is followed by the city's popular marathon each November.

Attending these events offers an exceptional opportunity to see some of the city's interesting historic traditions and to interact with the locals.

National Public Holidays

The People's Republic of China features a total of nine national public holidays each year:

  • New Year's Day - January 1st
  • Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) - February
  • International Women's Day - March 8th
  • International Labour Day - May 1st
  • Youth Day - May 4th
  • International Children's Day - June 1st
  • Birthday of the Chinese Communist Party - July 1st
  • Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Liberation Army (August 1st)
  • National Day - October 1st

Shanghai Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • New Year's Holiday - held on January 1st and 2nd is a national holiday and celebrated throughout the city, with lion and dragon dances at the Longhua Temple


  • Chinese New Year - falls according to the traditional Chinese calendar and is celebrated with dragon dances, lots of red decorations and visits to kin, relatives and friends
  • Lantern Festival - based at the Yu Yuan Gardens and featuring locals walking around nearby streets, carrying illuminated paper lanterns


  • Longhua Temple Fair - goes back over 300 years, when the laughing Buddha was born under the Longhua tree, preached Buddhism and saved people from worldly sufferings


  • Shanghai International Tea Culture Festival - held over one week, a traditional and grand festival promoting Chinese national culture and fostering friendship with people from all over the world


  • Dragon Boat Festival - is held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and commemorates the national hero Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the 3rd century BC to protest against the corrupt emperor
  • Shanghai International Music Festival - mid-May, lasting around one week and featuring a range of music-related events and well-attended concerts


  • Shanghai International Film Festival - the Chinese film industry is gaining more and more attention from filmmakers home and abroad, and several international stars have attended this event in the past


  • Birthday of the Chinese Communist Party - held on 1st July, featuring celebrations in the birthplace of the CCP throughout the city


  • No significant events and festivals in Shanghai in the month of August


  • Shanghai Tourism Festival - a huge urban tourist celebration with the theme of 'Walking into Happiness and Joy', featuring a parade along either Nanjing Donglu or Huaihai Zhonglu
  • Shanghai Grand Prix - held on the last weekend of September, a glitzy extravaganza featuring the roar and excitement of F1


  • National Day - held on 1st October, a national holiday commemorating the founding of the People's Republic of China
  • Shanghai International Arts Festival - offering a month of live music, dance, theatre, magic and exhibitions at various venues throughout the city
  • Tennis Masters Cup - mid / late October, week-long event and the season finale, featuring the top eight male players


  • Shanghai Marathon - attracting runners from across China and the rest of the world. Around 18,000 participants take part each year and the route is lined with thousands of spectators who eagerly cheer the runners on


  • Shanghai International Arts Festival - early December, month-long celebrations featuring a range of exhibitions, dancing, acrobatics, concerts and operatic performances