Getting Ready For May Day : Chengdu Diary Chengdu is getting beautified as the May 1st holiday approaches
NPR logo Getting Ready For May Day

Getting Ready For May Day

Here in Chengdu, they're getting ready for May Day. The May 1st holiday used to mean a week's vacation - a "Golden Week" - but the Chinese government shortened the holiday a couple of years ago to try to eliminate travel chaos. This year, since May 1st falls on a Friday, it's really just a long weekend.

Check out the holiday floral display that was being put together when I went out for a morning walk today to Tianfu Square. Orange and yellow marigolds, yellow pansies, and pink and red begonias by the thousands - they'll all become part of a giant 5 1 for May 1st, right in the heart of Chengdu:

May 1 conveyed through flowers in Tianfu Square Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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Melissa Block/NPR

The enormous statue of Chairman Mao in Tianfu Square, in the heart of Chengdu. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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Melissa Block/NPR

There's a lot of planting going on in the cities here - you'll see huge teams of workers in orange vests prettifying medians and parks and squares. These workers today were working just across the street from the gigantic statue of Chairman Mao which towers over the heart of Chengdu.

A few days ago, Mao was covered with green scaffolding, getting some pre-holiday sprucing up. I guess his microdermabrasion is complete; the scaffolding is gone and he's ready to greet the crowds for May Day this coming Friday.