Mid-Autumn Festival: The Legend of Chang’E Flying to the Moon

Mid-Autumn Festival the legend of Chang’E

On the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, people in China celebrate 中秋节(zhōngqiū jié) “MidAutumn Festival”. Zhōngqiū jié is the second most important festival after Chinese New Year and it was first celebrated to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.

It is also known as “The Moon Festival” as it is celebrated when the moon is believed to be the biggest and fullest. This year will be on October 4th, during the Chinese “Golden Week“.

According to Chinese tradition, during Mid-Autumn Festival families gather for dinner, people stare at the bright full moon while having mooncakes as desserts and listening to the magical legends explaining the origin of the festival. Among them, the most popular one is  “Chang’E Flying to the Moon”.

Chang'e - The Legend

Chang’e – The Legend

According to this legend, the beautiful Chang’E (嫦娥) was married to an expert archer, Hou-Yi(后羿). At that time ten suns rose in the sky. Crops were dying and people were suffering, so one day Hou-Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of them, leaving just one sun. For this heroic gesture, he was given an elixir of immortality. Unwilling to take it, he asked his wife Chang’E to keep it safe.

One day, in an emergency situation, the lady took the elixir and became immortal.

As soon as she swallowed the potion, she started to float and flew off, until she finally landed on the moon. Deeply missing his wife, Hou-Yi moved a table under the moon, preparing some food on it in order to make her come back to him. Since then, during the festival, people have offered lots of food to worship Chang’E on the Mid-Autumn Festival night.

Usually, Chinese children are told Chang’E is not alone on the moon because the immortal Jade Rabbit lives there with her.

Would you like to know more about Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival? Read our blog!

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