Villagers perform a lantern dance to celebrate China's first Farmers' Harvest Festival in Majiazhai Village of Shuiwei Township in Cengong County, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Sept. 23, 2018. People across China hold various activities to celebrate the country's first Farmers' Harvest Festival, which falls on Sept. 23 this year. (Xinhua/Yang Wenbin)
BEIJING, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- China celebrated its first ever national harvest festival across the country on Sunday, also the day of the Autumnal Equinox.
Autumnal Equinox is one of the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunar calendar and usually falls between Sept. 22 and 24, during the country's harvest season. It was designated a special day for farmers to celebrate the harvest earlier this year.
In Xiaogang Village, Fengyang County in east China's Anhui Province, people gathered to examine the quality of a variety of rice on the eve of the festival.
Only 40 years ago, local villagers could barely feed themselves before they boldly pioneered reforms that were later promoted nationwide, mainly a household-responsibility system that links remuneration to output.
This year, China's agricultural conglomerate Beidahuang Group based in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province set up a modern rice plantation in Xiaogang Village.
"We will develop a one-stop supply and marketing mechanism with Xiaogang as a brand of modern agriculture," said Li Jinzhu, first secretary of Xiaogang Village Party committee.
Farmers across China celebrate the harvest festival with activities ranging from skill contests, products exhibitions to parties and carnivals.
In Deqing County of east China's Zhejiang Province, 11 teams of farmers participated in a series of farming skill competitions.
In Hulin, a small city in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, farmers attended a grand outdoor party to celebrate the festival. They sang, danced and joined games such as tug of war in the urban square.
"I am glad to see that a festival is specifically designated for the farmers. That means farmers now enjoy a higher status in China," said Zhao Guihai, a resident in the city.
In Kuche County in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, more than 20,000 people gathered at a bonfire party on Friday night in the county square.
The county also held a fair for agricultural products, picking out "the biggest cantaloupe", "the biggest walnut", and "the biggest Chinese date", all freshly harvested products famous in Xinjiang.
For some people, the harvest festival is a time for reflecting upon the past and looking forward to the future.
Dai Geniu, a 94-year-old living in the city of Xinzheng in central China's Henan Province, has been a farmer for her whole life in the major crop-producing province. She has experienced wars, floods, and famines.
"Harvest is the happiest time of a year, even better than the Spring Festival, because food gives people a sense of security and hope," Dai said.
Wu Daowen, a farmer in southwest China's Guizhou Province, will reap a bumper harvest of kiwi fruits for the first time in three years. Wu started growing kiwi fruits in 2016, and then expanded the scale to about 1.33 hectares after he improved the planting techniques.
"I expect to have a yield of 1,750 kg of kiwi this year, and with the price of 12 yuan per kilo, I can make at least 20,000 yuan (about 2,900 U.S. dollars)," Wu said.
"Now as the kiwi fruit is very popular on the market, we don't have to worry about selling it," Wu said, "I estimate we'll reap 5,000 kg next year and there will be more bumper years to come."