When I was a kid, the mid-autumn festival was a big deal. My grandma would take me to buy a lantern weeks before the festival. There was none of the battery operated nonsense for me, and I would always pick the traditional dragon or fish ones that came with candles. I mean, this was the only time of the year my parents would let me play with fire. And on the day itself, all the kids got to stay up late, walking around the neighborhood with our lanterns while the adults ate moon cakes and drank tea.
As I grew up, we stopped the annual mid-autumn celebrations at my house. Lanterns were for babies, and everyone got too busy to sit around and eat moon cakes.
On Friday night, I looked up and saw the bright, round moon hanging in the sky. And on a whim, decided to head down to Chinatown over the weekend to catch the lanterns and festivities.
Over 16,000 lanterns lit up the streets. And in typical Chinatown fashion, it was packed with people. All jostling along the roads which were thankfully closed to traffic, and taking in the pretty lights, lantern displays and booths selling moon cakes.
When we went home, I decided to re-create a piece of my childhood. I strung paper lanterns along our planter, switched off the lights, screwed our sugar ban and ate moon cake. As I took in the peaceful, balmy night breeze and looked up at the full moon, I remembered why people celebrate this tradition.