(I have started this post in October 2020 and will add more holidays as we move through the next year.)
There are quite a few holidays in China as you move through the year. Spring Festival and Golden Week certainly mark a highlight in the calendar of Chinese people, as everyone usually gets a full week off. But there are many more holidays with long traditions and cultural significance and I found it interesting to learn a little more about them.
Mid-autumn festival (中秋节 Zhōng Qiū Jié)
Mid-autumn festival takes place on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. On this day, it is customary to reunite with your family and worship the moon.
As most Chinese holidays Mid-Autumn festival is also about food. There cannot be a Mid-Autumn Festival without mooncake: a rich, sweet pastry filled with a tremendous amount of calories. Red bean or lotus seed and egg yolk are traditional ingredients. They are not only tasty, but also beautiful. The round relates to the full moon, but also symbolizes reunion as it’s customary to come together with your family and enjoy the sweet treat together.
Of course, there has to be a story behind every traditional holiday and Mid-Autumn Festival evolves around Chang’e (嫦娥), the goddess of the moon in China. China’s lunar exploration program, which started in 2003, is also named after her: Chang’e Moon Exploration Project.
Here is a nice, short video from China Daily providing some more background on the Mid-Autumn Festival.