What is the Mid-Autumn Festival? At it’s heart, it is a harvest festival that occurs right around the time of the harvest moon. Historically, it brought family and friends together to give thanks for the year’s harvest. There is an added element of moon worship with offerings made to the moon goddess, Chang’e. Ancient Chinese emperors (3000 years ago!) would worship the harvest moon, to bring a bountiful harvest in the next year. Over time, the tradition passed to the upper classes and then eventually became common practice around the year 1300. Mooncakes were popularized shortly after.