Today, Chinese nationals unite with their families to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival, a major Chinese tradition, only second in importance to Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. The Moon Festival is celebrated to coincide with the eighth full moon of the year, when the moon shines most brightly. Tradition states that tables be laid with sweet cakes made from soya and filled with various fruits or even dry fruits. Legend has it that the Chinese people were freed from Mongolian rule thanks to these cakes. The rebel army issued instructions to the country’s inhabitants on how to set themselves free, and these instructions were hidden in the cake filling. In this way, the people rose to arms against the Mongolian forces at midnight, and at this moment the rebels took advantage by attacking and freeing their people.
This milenia-old festival originated from an old Chinese tradition of making offerings to the Sun during Springtime, in the hope of a fruitful harvest, before then making the same offerings to the Moon in thanks for the obtained food. Similarly to other Chinese festivals, Mid-Autumn Festival is accompanied by dragon parades through the streets, and in some cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong, it is also customary to hang lamps or lanterns from the balconies of houses. In Victoria Park in Hong Kong, this day is also celebrated with spectacular carnivals in which the main theme is light.