In the very distant past, ten suns rose in the skies so that their fire scorched the Earth causing great hardship for the people. The famous archer Hou Yi shot down nine of them, leaving one sun. As a reward he was given the Elixir of Immortality. . .

He was married to a lovely girl named Chang’e. From there, the story becomes hazy. We do not know for certain whether the archer asked his wife Chang’e to keep the Elixir with her because he did not want to gain immortality without his beloved wife or whether, while Yi went out hunting, his apprentice, Fengmeng, who was envious of Yi, broke into his house to steal the Elixir. In any case Chang’e drank the Elixir either to protect it or to gain immortality. The Elixir was so exquisite that she flew up toward Heaven, choosing to live on the Moon.

She lives there now with her pet a large jade rabbit. Perhaps she loved her husband and hoped to live nearby him. When Yi discovered what had transpired he felt so sad that he displayed the cakes that Chang’e had liked and gave sacrifices to her as a goddess of beauty and love. Today people who eat Moon Cakes become as beautiful as the goddess Chang’e.

On Mid-Autumn Festival, the full moon night of the eighth lunar month, an open-air altar is set up facing the moon for the worship of Chang’e. New Moon Cakes are put on the altar for her to bless so that she endows her worshipers with beauty. Since the Zhou dynasty (1045-221 BC) Chinese Emperors have worshiped the moon in autumn to bring a bumper harvest the following year.

The Moon Festival and Harvest Moon Festival is celebrated mainly in Chinese and Vietnamese communities also all across East Asia including China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. However, families across the world observe the holiday by gathering for dinners. The festival has been celebrated since the early Tang dynasty (618–907). This year many will celebrate virtually by sharing Moon Cakes together via zoom. While it has no fixed date on the calendar, it traditionally falls on the 15th day of the eighth month – a full moon day. This year celebrations start on October 1st, 2020.

Chang’e on the Moon:

Chang’e was mentioned in a conversation between Houston Control Center and the Apollo 11 crew just before the first American Moon landing in 1969. Ronald Evans, in the Control Center told the Apollo 11 pilot, Michael Collins, to be on the lookout for a lovely girl named Chang’e with a big Chinese rabbit. He said, “The rabbit is easy to spot since he is always standing on his hind feet in the shade of a cinnamon tree. The name of the rabbit is not reported.”

In 2007, China launched its first lunar probe, a robotic spacecraft named Chang’e 1 in honor of the goddess. This successful landing was followed by Chang’e space crafts 2 and 3. The lander also delivered the robotic rover Yulu (“Jade Rabbit”) to the lunar surface. On January 3, 2019, Chang’e 4 touched down on the far side of the Moon and deployed the Yulu-2 rover.

Online stores celebrate the Goddess Chang’e and the annual Moon Festival with gift boxes of decorative Moon Cakes made with a variety of delicious fillings including, lotus seed paste, custard, sweet red bean and mixed nuts. At we celebrate the wonderful health and beauty advantages of an enjoyable, well-rounded diet and lifestyle that can guide our vibrant immune system to keep us well and to express our highest aspirations and goals. Registration is now Open for Classes that begin in October in New York.