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The Story Behind Mid-Autumn Festival

A tragic love story? 10 Suns and an archer? Jade rabbit? The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节, Zhong Qiu Jie) is a traditional Chinese festival that goes beyond delicious mooncakes and a reunion meal with family and friends. However, before we delve deeper into the story behind the Mid-Autumn Festival, here are some basic facts to set the scene.

Without further ado, here is the story behind the Mid-Autumn Festival!

Is this another tragic love story?

In short, yes. It concerns a great archer named Hou Yi, his beautiful wife Chang’E, his archery student Peng Meng, the Jade Emperor and Queen of the Western heavens.


10 Suns and an archer?

There used to be 10 suns on earth. The heat was so unbearable it scorched crops and caused a severe drought. A great archer known as Hou Yi, came to the people’s rescue and successfully shot down 9 of the 10 suns; restoring peace on earth.

Unbeknownst to Hou Yi, the 9 suns he had shot down were the mischievous sons of the Jade Emperor and Queen of the Western Heavens. To seek revenge for their deaths, the Queen summoned Hou Yi to heaven on the pretense of rewarding him with a pill that can grant him eternal life. In reality, this was an elaborate ploy to separate the loving couple (since only 1 of them could live as an immortal) so that he will feel loss and pain, as she had.

However, the Queen’s plan fell through. When Hou Yi went home to Chang’E , they decided that they would rather be together and lead mortal lives, than leading separately lives.


How does Hou Yi’s wife, Chang’E fit into this story?

The people adored Hou Yi for his heroic deed so much so that some started taking martial arts classes from him. With this newfound fame, word spread that Hou Yi possessed a pill to eternal life. Wanting it for himself, his archery student Peng Meng, snuck off during an archery lesson in search of this pill.

The search of Hou Yi’s house was futile, because to keep it away from him, Chang’E swallowed the pill. Almost immediately, she started getting lighter and floated to heaven. She then chose to make the moon her home as it was the closest to earth, and Hou Yi.

How about the flying rabbit?

Well, the rabbit is not exactly related to the Hou Yi and Chang’E story. Legend has it that 3 deities visited earth disguised as poor old men and were begging for alms. Along the way, they met a fox, monkey and rabbit, none of them had any food to offer. The rabbit, however, decided to sacrifice itself to prevent the old men from going hungry. Moved by the gesture, they made the rabbit an immortal and sent it to the moon to accompany Chang’E.


Pretty neat huh? How well do you understand the Mid-Autumn Festival now? Stay tuned for more Mid-Autumn related articles in the coming weeks.

Before that, here’s an idea to skip the long mooncake queues, save the hassle of carrying the heavy mooncake around by placing your order with us here! From Bakerzin and Marriott Hotel’s traditional mooncakes to Japanese inspired ones from Janice Wong, our range of delicious mooncakes you will leave you spoiled for choice. However, if mooncakes are not what you are looking for today, head back to our main blog page for more flower and plant inspired articles here!

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