Literary Day is a holiday observed on May 4th in Taiwan and commemorates the May Fourth Movement—a cultural and political anti-imperialist movement that grew out of student protests in Beijing on May 4, 1919.
This holiday was first celebrated in 1945, but it wasn’t officially established as a holiday due to an ongoing dispute over whether the Kuomintang or the Communist Party was the legitimate successor to the May Fourth Movement and how the movement should be interpreted.
The History of Literary Day in Taiwan
The first celebrations of the anniversary of the May Fourth Movement began on May 4, 1920, across China. This would come to an end later in the 1920s as the Beiyang government prohibited marches and rallies that commemorated the movement in Beijing and Tianjin.
This is when commemorations of the day were moved to Nanjing and Shanghai. The Kuomintang changed the May Fourth observance to Literary Day in 1944, and the observance was celebrated for the first time in 1945. Four years later, the People’s Republic of China Government Administration Council changed it back to Youth Day. That’s why Literary Day is observed in Taiwan and Youth Day is observed in mainland China.
Observing Literary Day in Taiwan
Since Literary Day is not a public holiday in Taiwan, businesses remain open, and the general population isn’t given the day off. However, that doesn’t prevent festivities celebrating this holiday from occurring all across Taiwan. For many people, this is not only a day to celebrate but also a day to protest as well. On social media, the hashtag #LiteraryDay is used to spread the word about this holiday across the Internet.