How the Shanghainese Spend Their Traditional Holidays: Downloading

Here’s a phenomenon that I’ve yet to see generate much comment: during Chinese holiday weekends (like this weekend, in which they are supposed to be celebrating the mid-Autumn Festival), the internet grinds to a near standstill in Shanghai. I suppose there are several explanations for this occasionally observed (by me and this other guy I know) phenomenon, but I’m going to go with the simplest one: the Shanghainese like to spend their traditional holidays playing graphics intensive games and downloading really large files (to hell with eating mooncakes). This is made more difficult by the simple, unfortunate fact that Shanghai has the slowest internet in China.

[Below, Packaged Mooncakes with New Laptop, by Pieter Claesz]

I suppose it’s the case that people in other countries, too, like to celebrate the holidays by cruising the internet. But, at least where I’m from (Minnesota, USA), the demands on networks actually decrease during holidays, and increase during the work week. Why that isn’t the case in Shanghai is a topic for those much more familiar with these matters than me. For now, I’d just like to mention that – since it’s a holiday weekend – I’m desperate to download some very large files, and very frustrated that it’s just not going to happen.

Happy Mooncake Festival, peeps, and sorry to have been out of sight for so long.


  1. I think it is not so much the natives as those who work in Shanghai and are unable to return home to their families. Given the holidays without being with their loved ones, they probably spend their time on the net.

  2. It is an interesting phenomenon indeed, but I guess it’s more about intensive usage of VOIP messaging/videocall programs to relatives and lovers in other cities. Graphic intensive games don’t really jam the internet. Lots of downloads might contribute – movies, probably.

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