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Chang’e’s myth has also been referenced on lunar exploration missions. When the astronauts of Apollo 11 landed on the moon, flight controller Ronald Evans told Michael Collins the story of Chang’e and how she lived on the moon with a rabbit. Collins replied that he would keep an eye out for the “bunny girl”.
In Chinese mythology, Chang’e (嫦娥) is best known for stealing an elixir of immortality from her husband, the legendary archer Hou Yi (后羿), and escaping to become the goddess of the moon.
Hou Yi was so angry that he grabbed his bow and tried to shoot Chang’e down; he missed every shot. As time went by, Hou Yi’s anger subsided and he began to miss his wife. He would often stare up at the moon and think about how lonely Chang’e must be. In the hopes that it might make Chang’e feel less alone (and to show that he was no longer mad at her), Hou Yi started leaving her favorite desserts and fruits out every night. He continued this practice until the day he died.
This tradition continues today, as many people leave annual offerings to Chang’e during the Mid-Autumn Festival.