Posts filed under ‘.China’

The myth behind the Chinese zodiac


February 16, 2018 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Chang’e Flying to the Moon

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival Stories

Long, long ago, there were ten suns in the sky. The suns burnt all the plants and people were dying on Earth, until one day excellent archer Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of the suns. Earth was saved, and people flocked to learn archery from Hou Yi.

The Western Queen Mother gave Hou Yi a bottle of elixir that could make one person immortal. Although Hou Yi did want to become immortal, he wanted to stay with his wife Chang’e more. Therefore, he just kept it at home.

Pang Meng, one of his students, tried to seize the elixir when Hou Yi wasn’t at home. Faced with greedy Pang Meng, Chang’e decided to drink the elixir. It made her fly to the moon where she would stay forever.

To remember her and pray to her, Hou Yi and others started to worship the moon with many offerings.

Chang’e’s image usually appears on Mid-Autumn Festival pictures. Children in China are told that Chang’e is still living on the moon. And on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, when the moon is bright, children try their best to find the shape of Chang’e on the moon.


October 4, 2017 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2017

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋快乐!

Traditionally, this is the time for Chinese people worldwide to give thanks to the harvest and hope for community as well as prosperity. Under the bright moon, friends and family feast upon traditional round mooncakes and symbolically arranged nine-jointed lotus roots and watermelon, chatting away and lighting lanterns.

Stretching back thousands of years, this tradition is rooted in the folklore of Hou Yi and Chang’e. Many, many ages ago, people everywhere were suffering from the heat of 10 suns. Hou Yi shot down nine of the suns and was rewarded with an elixir of immortality from the Jade Emperor. When a friend tried to take the elixir, Hou Yi’s wife, Chang’e, tried to prevent this and ended up drinking the elixir herself. She then floated up to the moon. When Chang’e coughed up the elixir, it turned into a rabbit.

Legend says the loving couple are reunited once a month on the 15th when the moon burns brightly enough for them to spot each other. Venture outside to celebrate “the fifteenth of the eighth (lunar) month” and try to trace the shadow of Chang’e and her rabbit!

China Mid Autumn Festival Cards

How to Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival for Kids


October 4, 2017 at 5:25 am Leave a comment

The Magic Paintbrush

March 27, 2016 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment


February 13, 2016 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Frog in the Well

Mao's Last Dancer
Fable from Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

Dancing to Freedom

There was a frog that lived in a small, deep well. He knew nothing but the world he lived in. His well and the sky he could see above it were his entire universe.
One day he met a frog who lived in the world above. ‘Why don’t you come down and play with me? It’s fun down here,’ the frog in the deep well asked.
‘What’s down there?’ the frog above asked.
‘We have everything down here. You name it. The streams, the undercurrent, the stars, the occasional moon, and we even get flying objects coming down from the sky sometimes,’ the frog in the well answered.
The frog on the land sighed. ‘My friend, you live in a confined world. You haven’t seen what’s out here in the bigger world.’ The frog below was very annoyed. ‘Don’t you tell me that you have a bigger world than ours! My world is big. We see and experience everything the world has to offer,’ the well frog said.
‘No, my friend. You can only see the world above you through the size of the well. The world up here is enormous. I wish I could show you how big it is,’ the frog above replied.
The frog in the well was angry now. ‘I don’t believe you! You are telling me lies! I’m going to ask my dad.’ He told his dad about his conversation with the frog ont eh land. ‘My son,’ he said with a saddened heart, ‘your friend is right. I heard there is a much bigger world up there, with many more stars than we can see from here.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me about it earlier?’ the little frog asked.
‘What’s the use? Your destiny is down here in the well. There is no way you can get out of here,’ the father frog replied.
The little frog said, ‘I can, I can get out of here. Let me show you!’ He jumped and hopped, but the well was too deep and the land was too far above.
‘No use, my son. I’ve tried all my life and so did your forefathers. Forget the world above. Be satisfied with what you have, or it will cause you such misery in life.’
‘I want to get out, I want to see the big world above!’ the little frog cried determinedly.
‘No, my son. Accept fate. Learn to live with what is given,’ his dad replied.
So the poor little frog spent his life trying to escape the dark, cold well. But he couldn’t. The big world above remained only a dream.
“Dad, are we in a well?” I asked.
He thought for a while. “Depends on how you look at it. If you look at where we are from heaven above, yes, we’re in a well. If you look at us from below, we’re not in a well. Will you call where we are heaven? No, definitely not,” he replied.


March 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

The Legend of Chang E

Moon Festival

Chang E was a beautiful young girl working in the Jade Emperor’s palace in heaven, where immortals, good people and fairies lived. One day, she accidentally broke a precious porcelain jar. Angered, the Jade Emperor banished her to live on earth, where ordinary people lived. She could return to the Heaven, if she contributed a valuable service on earth.

Chang E was transformed into a member of a poor farming family. When she was 18, a young hunter named Hou Yi from another village spotted her, now a beautiful young woman. They became friends.

One day, a strange phenomenon occurred — 10 suns arose in the sky instead one one, blazing the earth. Hou Yi, an expert archer, stepped forward to try to save the earth. He successfully shot down nine of the suns, becoming an instant hero. He eventually became king and married Chang E.

But Hou Yi grew to become a despot. He sought immortality by ordering an elixir be created to prolong his life. The elixir in the form of a single pill was almost ready when Chang E came upon it. She either accidentally or purposely swallowed the pill. This angered King Hou Yi, who went after his wife. Trying to flee, she jumped out the window of a chamber at the top of palace — and, instead of falling, she floated into the sky toward the moon.

King Hou Yi tried to shoot her down with arrows, but without success. Once on the moon, Chang E became a three-legged toad, as punishment from the Queen Mother, according to one version of the legend. Her companion, a rabbit, is constantly pounding the elixir of immortality in a large mortar.

The moon is also inhabited by a wood cutter who tries to cut down the cassia tree, giver of life. But as fast as he cuts into the tree, it heals itself, and he never makes any progress. The Chinese use this image of the cassia tree to explain mortal life on earth — the limbs are constantly being cut away by death, but new buds continually appear.

Meanwhile, King Hou Yi ascended to the sun and built a palace. So Chang E and Hou Yi came to represent the yin and yang, the moon and the sun.

September 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm 1 comment

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