Today is the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a harvest festival celebrated in China, Vietnam and other countries influenced by Chinese culture. It's called Tet Trung Thu in Vietnamese, Zhong Qiu Jie in Mandarin. The moon should be huge and bright tonight. Hopefully the sky's clear so you can check it out. (We're overcast right now in Santa Cruz.)
When I was young and still living in Vietnam, we paraded around with cheerful lanterns; they were made of cellophane and light wood and would burn easily, which somehow thrilled us in a strange way. On the eating front, after dinner, my family nibbled on small wedges of moon cakes and sipped tea. Moon cakes are a Chinese specialty made of a thin pastry containing an endless variety of fillings. They're shaped in a special mold.
We had homemade moon cakes, which my mom made from a recipe she and her girlfriends learned from Mrs. Quoc Viet, a popular cooking teacher in Vietnam during the 1970s. Mrs. Quoc Viet charged a lot for her moon cake class, selling "secret ingredients" and the like. My aunt and a friend took the class, while my mom waited outside and took notes whenever the ladies got a break and came out to update her. Then the three women went home, organized a meet-up of about 50 women and taught them how to make moon cakes. They kind of stuck it to Mrs. Quoc Viet.