Houston Community News >> Mid-Autumn Festival Origins

9/25/2007-- China has 17 people named Chang E while 32,000 are named Wu Gang according to a survey by a service center in Beijing that offers information about domestic residents' identity card numbers, the Beijing Daily reported.

The survey was conducted for this year's Mid-Autumn Festival, which was yesterday.

The festival was set up to remember Chang E, a guardian Goddess of the palace on the moon in a fairy tale.

According to the tale, she was one of the only living beings on the moon. A white rabbit was her only companion.

Chang E was once the wife of Hou Yi, the hero who shot down nine suns to save people from being burnt. The tenth sun then rose and set on Hou Yi's orders. One day, Chang E took a mysterious medicine to avoid a bad person from getting it. She then became a Goddess who would be immortal. But she had to live a lonely and cold life on the moon.

Hou Yi missed his wife, so every year he set a table full of dishes to remember Chang E on the day she flew to the moon. The date was the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese calendar, or the Moon Festival.

Wu Gang was sent to the moon as punishment. He was ordered to cut the branch of a bay tree.

The tree, however, had a strong power for regeneration. If one of its branches was cut off, another grew in its place.

Contributed by Shanghai Daily