China will host more than 100 activities nationwide to celebrate the first Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Thursday.
The ministry has selected 100 villages, 100 rural cultural events, 100 types of food, 100 agricultural products and 100 rural travel routes that urban dwellers can follow to the countryside to celebrate with farmers, Qu Dongyu, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said at a news conference in Beijing.
The festival, the first created especially for farmers, reflects the high priority the central government places on rural areas and agriculture, as well as its determination to develop a thriving agricultural industry, beautiful countryside and well-off farmers, Qu said.
Farmers deserve a special festival since they have made great contributions to the livelihoods of the people. And setting up the festival will improve the status of farmers, increase their self-esteem and create an environment that respects and values them, he said.
Most of the celebrations will take place at a local level with activities derived from local customs, Qu said.
The nation will celebrate its first Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival on the autumn equinox on the Chinese lunar calendar, which falls this year on Sept 23, a Sunday, one day before Mid-Autumn Festival.
Autumn equinox is one of the 24 solar terms in the lunar calendar and marks the midpoint of autumn.
Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said at a news conference in June that as a major agricultural country China has the largest number of farmers in the world, and annual grain production reaching 600 million metric tons for five consecutive years.
Although climates and crops differ in various parts of China, most crops mature in autumn, which is why the government chose to celebrate harvest festival at the autumn equinox, he said, adding that extravagance and waste should be avoided in the celebrations.