China's young adults recall childhood memories

Updated: 2011-06-01 20:00
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BEIJING - Although they are already in their twenties or early thirties, a group of young adults recently celebrated International Children's Day in much the same fashion as the children for whom the day is intended.

In China, "children" refers to people under the age of 14, according to the Communist Youth League Constitution.

However, there is still a large number of young people over that age who have a special attachment to the holiday.

"I don't want to grow up," says Zhang Yuan, a 26-year-old woman from Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province.

"It is exciting to use the holiday to recall our childhoods," she says.

On Children's Day, when many children are spending time in parks with their parents, going to shopping malls to purchase new toys and feasting on expensive dishes in fancy restaurants, some adults are taking to the Internet to discuss how best to spend the holiday.

On, one of China's most popular online forums, a netizen nicknamed "tiger" says that 15 years have passed since he last celebrated Children's Day.

He recalled some of the most poignant moments from his childhood in a post on the forum.

"I suggest that we get together to play some games that we were familiar with during our childhoods," the post said.

A campaign launched by, a popular social networking site, asks younger netizens to post photos taken during their younger years and share interesting childhood experiences.

A total of 600,000 netizens have participated in the campaign, uploading about 300,000 photos taken during their childhoods. Many netizens who uploaded photos added stories to go along with their contributions.

"My childhood is so far away from my present life," writes Dong Qinhao.

As a 31-year-old man, Dong has to shoulder the heavy burdens of paying a mortgage and supporting his family.

"Everyone knows that children have the exclusive right to enjoy Children's Day," Dong says.

"However, I still want to celebrate this day for myself as a young adult far beyond the age of a child," he says.

Dong believes that remembering his childhood will boost his confidence and give him a more positive outlook on life.

"Analyzing this phenomenon from a psychological perspective, people often have deep-seated feelings that trace back to memories from their childhoods," says Yang Dong, a professor from the School of Psychology of China's Southwest University.

However, the pressures of growing up and taking on new responsibilities dispel the feelings of innocence and spontaneity fostered during childhood, Yang says.

"Adults try to regain a piece of their childhood by recalling these memories," Yang says.