The Mid-Autumn Festival has a special significance for Hong Kong youngsters - not because of its distinctive Chinese atmosphere, but because it falls around the beginning of the new academic year. As the children prepare for the new school term each year, they also have at the back of their minds the image of candles, glowing lanterns, and mooncakes. Talking of mooncakes, this seems a good occasion to take a look at these special delicacies, so loved and enjoyed by the Chinese people. The traditional mooncake is still the big seller at festival time, although there have been a few new variations to the look and substance of the cakes in recent years. Traditionally, mooncakes were made of lotus seeds and duck egg yolks, and were round in shape. The more duck egg yolks, the higher the price - and the more oily the cake. Four cakes would be put in a tin box and sold. The mooncakes available today are on the whole not much different from the traditional cakes, but there are the new varieties made to appeal to the younger consumers. In the mooncake market you will see cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Garfield, and there are also the iced and fruit-flavoured mooncakes, as well as the ice-cream mooncakes. And for the little ones, there are the mini-mooncakes. But while these new style cakes are made to appeal to the younger generation, are they really what youngsters are looking for? Can they replace the traditional cakes? Alan Chan, a matriculation student, says: 'If you really like mooncakes, you will buy the new attractions only after you have had the real, old-fashioned cakes.' Housewife Iris Wong was of the same opinion. 'I'm buying the Garfield mooncakes for my daughter. I still prefer the oily old palm-size mooncakes. Actually, I don't eat a lot of them; I just buy them to keep to tradition at festival time.' The new-fangled cakes do seem to be 'going down well' with many youngsters. Fifteen-year-old Catherine said: 'I like the Mickey Mouse mooncakes because they are different from the traditional ones. In fact, it's the Mickey Mouse touch that made me buy the mooncakes!'