Public opinion is being sought on the official Lunar New Year holiday schedule for 2015, with online debate raging over whether Lunar New Year’s Eve should be included in the seven-day break.
An online poll on the Sina.com portal is being conducted by the National Survey Research Center at Renmin University of China on behalf of “certain government departments”.
The poll has three questions. Besides a respondent’s age and occupation, it asks whether the Spring Festival holiday should start on Feb 18－Lunar New Year’s Eve－or on the first day of Lunar New Year.
Both of these options allow seven days for the holiday, despite many Internet users calling for more. Workers will also have to report for duty on the weekends before and after Spring Festival to make up for lost time, as usual.
More than 76 percent want Lunar New Year’s Eve to be included in the holiday by 6 pm on Dec 8.
Zhao Chu, from Changzhi in Shanxi province, said if the official holiday starts on the first day of Lunar New Year, he cannot make it to his hometown because of the distance and inconvenient public transportation.
“My hometown is very far from Beijing. Every year, I have to spend at least one day on the trip,” Zhao said. “If I leave Beijing on the morning of February 18, I can barely make it to the reunion dinner with my parents.”
“No one wants to miss the reunion dinner with their family, which is the core part of Spring Festival,” Zhao added.
“In China, more and more young people work far away from their hometowns. When government departments are making a decision on such a crucial matter, they should think about this. “
Making Lunar New Year’s Eve an official holiday was ruled out in 2014, when the general office of the State Council released its official holiday schedule for this year on Dec 11, 2013. As the most important night on the traditional Chinese calendar, it had been an official holiday since 2007.
Gao Fei, 22, a salesman at a computer company in Beijing’s Zhongguancun area, said: “On Lunar New Year’s Eve, a family should be together and prepare the dinner. This is Chinese culture.”
However, some argue that many companies or government departments allow employees to leave early on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
“So, even if this day is not included in the official arrangements, we can have one more day with our families,” said Zhang Jinfang, 27, a staff member at a government-funded research institution in Beijing.
Zhang Yiwu, a Peking University professor, said in an article in Global Times that the adjustment in 2013 has presented the government with a dilemma.
“It is hard to please everybody in terms of holiday arrangements,” Zhang said. “When drafting policy, the government should pay more attention to how to reach a common sense solution.”