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From my understanding most Chinese workers only have one major holiday around the time of Spring Festival.

So are holidays 暑假, 寒假 only for students? Roughly speaking how long are they and when do they occur? Do they correspond with another holiday?

Is there another type of 假 that is used to describe the holiday period around Spring Festival?

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寒假 is the holiday period around Spring Festival. –  Jon Jan 20 '12 at 3:40
    
@Jon - So would an adult refer to that time off as 寒假 also? Would it be understood or is it more for the break in the school term and the Spring Festival is just part of that period? Could an adult say something like 放寒假我要回老家? –  xiaohouzi79 Jan 20 '12 at 3:58
    
@xiaohouzi79 寒假 covers the coldest period of a year and contains the spring festival period. However, only full-day students have full length "寒假", while adults have about 5 days off for spring festival by law, and in total they will have a 7-day-vacation in total by law. Mostly if they have PTO, they will use it to make spring festival vacation longer, or to avoid getting stuck in the peak days of public transport (railway, etc). –  coolcfan Jan 20 '12 at 5:41
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2 Answers 2

假 means 假期 vacation, it also have 病假 sick days, and 请假 request a vacation/day off. 寒假 暑假 is mainly for students and teachers.

For 暑假 it usually starts at late June, and ends at 1st Sep, it's about 2-3 months. For 寒假, it depends on the day of chinese new year, usually it starts 1 or 2 weeks before that, and last for 1 and a half months.

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寒假 and 暑假 are vacations of schools, from primary schools to universities. All students, teachers, employees of the schools would have these holidays. Some education related government bureaus also have these holidays. These are not holidays for the general public.

The period is like Fivesheep said. However, in universities, the period may be shorter depending on the school. Tsinghua University even has an extra summer semester in the 暑假 period, taking about half the time.

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