Mid-autumn Festival is one of the three most important festivals in China (the other two are the Chinese New Year and Dragon Boat Festival. There are many interesting stories explaining the origin of the festival. Read below some most widespread stories about Mid-autumn Festival.
Long long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky. They burnt all the plants on the earth. People were dying.
One day, a hero whose name was Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of them. All the people on the earth were saved.
One day, the queen of heaven gave Hou Yi a bottle elixir that could make Hou Yi become an immortal, but the elixir was only efficacious for one person. Hou Yi did want to become an immortal, but he wanted to stay with his beautiful wife Chang'e more, so he didn't drink the elixir and asked his wife Chang'e to keep it for him.
Hou Yi was becoming more and more famous after he shot down the nine suns and more and more men wanted Hou Yi to be their master. Most of them were accepted by Hou Yi.
Not every student of Hou Yi had good morality. Feng Meng, one of his students, wanted to seize his elixir. One day, Hou Yi went hunting with his students, but Feng Meng pretended to be ill and stay at home. When making sure Hou Yi had gone he went to Hou Yi's house and tried to force Chang'e to give him the elixir. Chang'e knew she couldn't defeat Feng Meng so she drank the elixir immediately. The elixir made her become an immortal and fly higher and higher. Finally, she stopped on the moon.
From then on, people often pray to Chang'e for fortune and safety. During the Mid-Autumn Festival they offer lots of foods to Chang'e.
Wu Gang was a woodchopper. He always wanted to become an immortal, but he never tried his best to learn the necessary theurgy. The Jade Emperor got angry with him because of his attitude. In order to punish him, the Jade Emperor planted a huge cherry bay, which was 1665 meters (5460 ft) high, on the moon and ordered Wu Gang to chop it down, then Wu Gang could become an immortal.
This time, Wu Gang was very serious, but he could never finish his work. The cherry bay healed every time that Wu Gang chopped it. Wu Gang wouldn’t give up. He tried time and time again.
On unclouded nights people can see some obvious shadows on the moon. They are made by the huge cherry bay.
One day, three immortals who were living in heaven came to the earth. They asked a fox, a monkey and a rabbit to find some food for them respectively. The fox and the monkey both found something for the three immortals while the rabbit got nothing. The rabbit felt very sorry for the three immortals. Finally, he jumped into the fire and said to the three immortals, "Eat me, please!" The three immortal were deeply moved by the rabbit. They decided to give the rabbit the title of "Jade Rabbit" and let him accompany Chang'e in the Moon Palace.
Click here for our brief introduction to the Chinese moon festival.