More Legends of Moon Festival
Chang E Flying to the moon
Chang E Flying to the Moon is the most widely told Mid-Autumn Festival legend. It is said that in ancient times, ten suns existed in the sky and the extreme heat made people’s lives very difficult. It was the hero Hou Yi, who, using his great strength, shot down nine of the ten suns. Later, Hou Yi married a beautiful and kind-hearted woman named Chang E and lived a happy life.
One day, the Queen of Heaven presented Hou Yi an elixir which, if took, would help him to ascend immediately to heaven and become a god. Hou Yi took it home and asked Chang E to keep it. Unfortunately, a villain named Pengmeng got to know this, broke into their home and demanded Chang E hand over the elixir while Hou Yi was out hunting. In a moment of desperation, Chang E swallowed the elixir. Reluctant to leave his husband, Cheng E tried her best to fly to the moon, the nearest place to the earth in heaven. Houyi missed Chang E a lot, so on the day of the full moon he placed on tables foods that Chang E liked. This custom was later followed by folk people praying to the Goddess Chang E for good luck and gradually formed the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Rabbit in the Moon
The Mid-Autumn Festival rabbit story goes about that three immortals reincarnated themselves into three poor old people and begged food from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and monkey both gave food to the immortals. However, the rabbit did not have any food. It then said to the immortals: “you can eat me” and jumped into the fire. The immortals were so moved by the rabbit and sent it to the moon to become an immortal jade rabbit. Ever since then, the Chinese jade rabbit stays in the Moon Palace to accompany Chang E and compounds immortal medicine for those living in the heaven. This is “rabbit in the moon legend”, also known as “jade rabbit story”.
Eating pomelo fruits during Moon Festival
Because of its round shape and its sweet taste, the pomelo is one of the primary festive foods of the mid-autumn moon festival. It is considered as a lucky fruit by the Chinese. In Mandarin, pomelos are called “you zi”, a homophone for words that mean “prayer for a son.” Therefore, it is believed that eating pomelos and putting their rinds on the head signifies a prayer for the youth in the family as the moon goddess Chang E will see them and respond to their prayers when she looks down from the moon.