The Legend of the Moon Ladyby Jo W. on Sep, 22 2012
I’m a little shocked when I meet Chinese and/or Taiwanese American peers who know nothing about the mythology of the Chinese lunar deity, Chang-O, the Moon Lady.
With the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, on September 22, Saturday, this year, why not retell the story to the student body? And forget the traditional folklore diction. Although there are different variations of the story, all of them stay consistent with a few of these elements: there were ten suns, an archer named Houyi, elixir of immortality, and the Moon.
There was once a time when there were 10 suns shining in the sky, scorching the Earth. To save the world from technically becoming one giant crispy-fried chicken nugget, a talented archer named Houyi shot down 9 of the 10 suns.
The emperor is so pleased with Houyi’s deed, he grants him with an elixir of immortality. However, Houyi’s beautiful wife, Chang-O, finds the elixir that her husband had hidden. She drinks it out of curiosity, and immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Drinking the elixir of immortality causes her to ascend to the moon.
So, Chang-O lives on the moon for eternity, with only a Jade Rabbit as her companion, who constantly brews her the elixir of life to drink.
And what this all has to do with mooncakes, well…you might as well ask, “What do Easter eggs have to do with Jesus?”