The Mid-Autumn festival (often called Mooncake Day) is a time of year when parents tell their children the wonderous tale of the beautiful Lady on the Moon, Chang’E.
A long, long time ago, during the Hsia dynasty around 2000BC, the Earth was circled by 10 suns, each taking its turn to shine down on the world. One day, all ten suns appeared in the heavens, scorching the Earth and drying up the water in the wells, rice paddies and lakes. Seeing the damage being caused to the Earth, the Emperor sent for his most skilled archer, Hou-Yi, and ordered for nine of the ten suns to be shot out of the sky. Hou-Yi climbed up the Kun Lun mountain under the blazing heat, and raised his bow to the skies. Such was the skill and might of our hero, that he drew his bow back and from it flew nine arrows striking nine suns, leaving only one.
Hou-Yi was richly rewarded, and was given a Pill of Immortality by the Goddess of Heaven so that he might continue to protect the Emperor and the Earth forever more. This pill was only to be taken after a year of meditation and fasting, so Hou-Yi hid it away, to be taken the following year.
While Hou-Yi was tending to his imperial duties, his beautiful wife, Chang’E came across the pill in a pretty little box. It was beautiful, glowing and shimmering like a pearl. She took it out to examine it just as her husband was returning home. Fearing that her husband would catch her looking at the contents of the box, she hid the pill in her mouth.
Hou-Yi was pleased to see his beloved wife, and asked her if anything had happened while he was away. Chang’E tried to reply, but accidentally swallowed the pill! Lo and behold, she began to float upwards and out of the window!, Try as he might, her husband could not keep her on the ground, and he watched helplessly as she floated up and away into the sky.
Eventually, Chang’E reached the Moon, where she came to rest under a tree. Here she met the friendly Jade Hare who still keeps her company on the moon. On the Mid-Autumn Festival, when the moon is particularly big and bright, if you make a wish to the Lady on the Moon, she might hear you and your wish might be granted!