Consider this my annual obligatory “I’m-glad-I-wasn’t-travelling-in-China-during-Golden-Week” post.

In 1999, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, AND to stimulate the economy, the government decreed that henceforth every man woman and child in China (that would be 1.35 billion of them) would get a 7-day holiday beginning on October 1. The week would be known as “Golden Week.”

The message was clear: TRAVEL! GO SHOPPING! EAT IN RESTAURANTS! SPEND MONEY! (Hmmm….I wonder what Mao would think of those being the government mandated activities to celebrate the beginning of Communist rule. But I digress….)

Of course it’s not entirely true that everyone gets the week off, since there has to be someone to fly the planes, man the ticket booths, work in the shops, and cook the food. But pretty much everyone else in the country had the week off and they took to the streets, the skies, and the tourist spots.

Shanghaiist has compiled some pics from around the country. Here are a few of the scariest…er…um…best:

too_many_people3 too_many_people15 too_many_people19 too_many_people56

More photos here.

And let this be a reminder to you that if anyone ever suggests that you visit China the first week of October, just imagine yourself in one of these photos. Then politely decline.

A Mountain of People, An Ocean of People

All Together now

China on the Move, Visualized