For many, the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, steeped in 2,000 years of history, is a deep and meaningful occasion - a time when families gather together to light lanterns, eat moon cakes and appreciate the roundness of the moon.
It is one of the most important festivals in China along with the Spring Festival, the Qingming Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival.
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the 15th day of the eighth month is the exact middle of autumn. It is also supposed to be the time when the moon is at its roundest and brightest for the year symbolizing family reunion.
This year it falls on Sunday.
But for all the warm family feelings the festival creates, it is as much about those tasty moon cakes.
A well-packaged box of moon cakes is a must-buy gift for relatives and friends at this time of the year.
Typically they are round or rectangular pastries with a thick filling usually of lotus seed paste covered by a thin crust. Rich, heavy and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries, moon cakes are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.
"For me, the most delicious moon cakes are those with traditional fillings such as lotus seed, sweet bean paste, jujube and five kernel," says Zhang Zhiliang, 57.
But times are changing. And while the older generation like Zhang still prefer Canto or Suzhou-style moon cakes stuffed with traditional fillings which also include peanut, sesame, white gourd and red beans, young people - especially white collars - love trying different flavors.
These days new fillings include fruits, meat and ice cream while even the shapes vary. No longer just round or square, moon cakes come shaped like hearts, horoscope symbols, Hello Kitty and even Micky Mouse.
"Packaged moon cakes always have the same fillings which are so boring," says Apple Wu, 27, who works for a local headhunting firm. "I love making moon cakes by myself because I can put in whatever I like.
"More importantly, it's a best way to show your love to your loved ones - you put in your heart and soul and feeling during the process. It's amazing,'' Wu says.
Wu might be onto something as do-it-yourself moon cakes are becoming popular with more and more people trying their hand.
Shanghai white-collar Silvia He has studied and worked in the city for more than seven years. Before this year, she would buy a box of moon cakes and mail it to her parents back home in Hunan Province before the special day.
But this year, she did something different, making her own moon cakes with the assistance of a bakery studio Acako.
"They provided all the materials and the staff taught me how to make them step by step," says He.
From sifting flour, mixing flour with eggs and sugar, preparing fillings like lotus seed paste and walnuts, shaping each moon cake in a plastic model, to baking them, He completed all the steps, with help from the bakery staff.
After 90 minutes' effort, He's nine moon cakes, with lotus seed paste filling, emerged from the oven. She packed them carefully in a lovely box ready to send as a gift to her parents - made with love.
Everything, including ingredients and training course, cost He 220 yuan (US$30).
"DIY moon cakes are very popular now. When our customers learned we started this course, many called to make an appointment," says Hou Yaowen, a baker at Acako.
"People now care more about their love for friends and family, rather than the food itself. Hand-made moon cakes are more meaningful," he says. Romance in the air as well? Besides DIY moon cakes, a two-day carnival this weekend will also be a highlight of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The carnival at Jiangwan Sports Center will give people a perfect chance to do some moon gazing, listen to folk music, watch elegant tea art performance and exhibitions of colorful lanterns as well as watch many interesting shows.
The Mid-Autumn Festival on Sunday is also regarded as a romantic celebration, a day for pursing love. Single women and men will have a great chance to meet each other and play organized games.