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The painting of The Moon Goddess Chang E, dated to around 1500 (during the reign of the Ming dynasty)

Chang'e (Chinese: 嫦娥; pinyin: Cháng'é) or Chang-Er[1] or Chang-o or Heng'e is the Chinese female deity of the Moon. She is the topic of many stories in Chinese mythology. Most of her stories are associated with Houyi, the archer, an Emperor, an elixir of life and the Moon. She was married to Houyi. In present days, the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program was named after her.[2][3]

Story[change | change source]

Chang'e flies to the moon.

There are many stories about Chang'e. The following is about the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival.[4] In one version, long time ago, Chang'e was a beautiful woman. Ten suns had risen together into the skies. They had scorched the Earth. Thus, it caused hardship for the people.[4] Houyi, the archer, shot down nine of them. He left just one Sun. He was given either two or one with enough for two elixirs of immortality as a reward.[4] He did not drink it directly. He let Chang'e keep it with her because he did not want to be immortal without his beloved wife. However, while Houyi went out hunting, his enemy Fengmeng went into his house. And he tried to force Chang'e to give the elixir to him. She drank them instead of giving them to Fengmeng. Then,[4] Chang'e flew upward past the heavens. There, she chose the Moon as her home. As she loved her husband, she wanted to live nearby him. That is why she chose the moon.[4] Houyi found out what had happened and felt sorry. So, he displayed the fruits and cakes that Chang'e had enjoyed. Then, he killed himself.[2][3][4]

In older versions of the story, Chang'e stole the elixir from Houyi. Then, she drank it and flew away to the Moon. Then, her husband could not go after her.[5] Chang'e appears in Wu Cheng'en's late 16th-century novel, Journey to the West.[2][3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Loong, Gary Lit Ying (2020-09-27). "Of mooncakes and moon-landing". New Straits Times. Malaysia. Archived from the original on 2020-12-15. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Chang'e | Chinese deity | Britannica.com". Archived from the original on 2019-11-14. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "The Legend of Chang E". Archived from the original on 2021-09-28. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Yang & An 2005, 89-90 & 233.
  5. Liu An (ed.). 覽冥訓. 羿請不死藥於西王母,姮娥竊以奔月,悵然有喪,無以續之。 {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)