The Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhong Qiu Jie, 中秋节) is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Because of its association with moocakes and lighted lanterns, this festival is also called the Mooncake or Lantern Festival.
This year, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 30.
Like the Chinese New Year, it is a time for family gatherings. Family members get together to enjoy the bright full moon and eat mooncakes.
The 2012 Mid-Autumn Day happens to be connected with the National Day holiday (October 1 – 7), so people in China enjoy an eight-day holiday from September 30 to October 7.
In August, the Chinese government issued a toll-free road policy, allowing passenger cars with seven seats or less to travel for free on toll roads during four major holidays – the Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, Labor Day and National Day.
This eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday is the first toll-free holiday. The toll-free policy took effect at midnight, Saturday. For the first time in decades, Chinese drivers can use the country’s highways toll-free during the eight-day holiday,
The long holiday with pleasant autumn weather is already a popular time for travel. With the new toll-free policy, the traffic on highways has become a nightmare.
China has the unique travel rush twice every year for the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Chinese Lunar New Year during which Chinese travel home from their work places to spend time with their families.
Traffic jam in the US is nothing compared to what’s happening in China.