National Day and the Secret of Chairman Mao’s Portrait

News and Travel Editor

National Day is celebrated on October 1st to mark the formation of the People’s Republic of China.

Traditionally, celebrations kick off with a flag raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square followed by a parade and fireworks. Since 1999, celebrations have expanded to include a 7 day vacation, known as ‘golden week’. Many Chinese people use this time to travel and get together with their families.

Another tradition which takes place every October for National Day isn’t quite as well known.

Do you recognise this image?

453px-Mao_Zedong_portrait.jpg

As you may have guessed, this is the portrait of Chairman Mao that hangs at the entrance to the Forbidden City.

What about this one?469px-Mao.jpg

Or this one? 800px-The_portrait_of_Mao_Zedong.jpg

Confused yet? Every October for China’s National Day, the portrait of Mao at the Forbidden City gets a makeover in the dead of night.  Few people in the world have seen this happen. Watch how they do it below, and see if you can spot the differences yourself!

How are you celebrating National Day this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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