Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 2/44- A myth or story from Folklore

500 Word Essay on Chang-O, Moon Goddess
She is known by many names which are Chang'e, Ch'ang-O, Chang- Ngo and also known as Heng-E or Heng-O. She is the chinese Goddess of the Moon. Chang-O is unlike any of the other lunar deities, in other cultures who personify the moon, Chang-o only lives on the moon. As the "Woman on the Moon" Chang-o could be considered the chinese complement to the western notion of a man in the moon. The lunar crater Chang-Ngo is named after her.
      Chang'e was a beautiful young girl working in the Jade Emperor's palace, Some stories say that Chang'e was The Jade Emperor's daughter, others say she was just a girl working there. The Palace was in Heaven where immortals, good people, and Fairies lived. One Day she accidently broke a precious porcelain jar that angered the Jade Emperor, so much so that he banished her to live on Earth, where ordinary people lived. The only way to return to heaven, was if she contributed a valuable service on earth. Chang'e was transformed into a member of a poor farming family. When she was eighteen, a young hunter named Houyi from another village spotted her. They became good friends.
        One Day a strange occurence happened, a phenomenon you might say. 10 suns arose in the sky instead of one, blazing the earth, making the earth quite warmer than usual. Houyi, an expert archer, stepped forward to try to save the earth. He successfully shot down nine of the suns, becoming an instant hero. He eventually became king and married Chang'e. As time went on though, Houyi became a tyrant and very greedy. He wanted to become immortal, so he could live forever, so he ordered an Elixir to be created for him to prolong his life. The Elixir in the form of a single pill was almost ready, When Chang'e happened to find it, she either accidently or purposely swallowed the pill. King Houyi was outraged and went after his wife with his bow and arrow. Trying to flee, she jumped out the window of a chamber at the top of the palace, but instead of falling, she floated into the sky toward the moon. King Houyi tried to shoot her down with arrows, but without success. Her companion, a rabbit, is constantly pounding the elixir of immortality in a large mortar. King Houyi ascended to the sun and built a palace, He eventually forgave his wife and they would reunite on the moon when it become full. So Chang'e and Houyi came to represent the Yin and Yang, The moon and the sun. On Mid Autumn Day, the full moon night of the eigth lunar month, an altar is set up on the open air facing the moon to worship her. New Toiletries are put on the altar for her to bless. She endows her worshippers with beauty. So my understanding of the story is that it is not good to take something that is not yours and being greedy will get you nowhere.

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