Posts filed under ‘The Legend of Chang E’

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

(more…)

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


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