The legend Chang Er Flying to the Moon is a beautiful fable of ancient China. Chang Er was the wife of the legendary hero Hou Yi, a great archer who accomplished great achievements by shooting down nine extra suns. The hero was rewarded with a kind of elixir for his deed, which was then eaten by his wife by stealth. Chang Er rose up to the sky immediately after that and lived on the moon ever since. The moon is also called “Moon Palace” by the Chinese to describe the abode of Chang Er. It is said that she regretted for what she had done soon after she flied to the moon. Many poets in ancient China cited the subject in their poems, in order to deliver Chang Er’s loneliness, chillness and solitude in the moon palace.
In China, Chang Er is a synonym for the moon, and the Chinese nation has always had a special emotion towards the moon derived by the associations of fair Chang Er, which has even influenced the nation in all aspects. When getting to know what happened to Chang Er, common people of that time put their incense burner tables under the moon and prayed for luck and safety to the kind lady. Thereby, the custom of worshiping the moon on the Mid-Autumn Festival caught on among folks.
Later, other legends about the moon, such as Wu Gang Chopping the Laurel Tree and Moon Rabbit Grinding Medicine were created, draping the moon with a mysterious veil once more. Moreover, people are also fond of making interesting patterns of these tales on moon cakes.