Taiyang & Yueliang – Sun And Moon In Chinese Culture

The sun and the moon are important elements to all of humanity, but the Chinese hold them in higher regard than the rest of the world.

Here, we will look at the meanings behind the sun and the moon and also the Chinese mythologies about them. So, let’s get right into it!

Sun Meaning In Chinese

The sun (rì) is a big part of Chinese culture, and it is regarded as the epitome of the Yang (yin and yang). This is because the yang represents heat, light, spring, vitality, and also the East where the sun rises from. Like Yang, it represents all things bright and light.

What does the sun symbolize in chinese culture? In addition to being at the core of the element of Yang, the sun also symbolizes the emperor, with the solar eclipse signifying the Empress or the moon. This relation between the sun and the moon shows the power of the sun and the moon, and more importantly, it points to the fact that the moon or the empress can be very powerful to the extent of obscuring the light from the Emperor. It is because of this association between the emperor and the empress that the sun’s and the phoenix’s image together is an ideal representation of the Emperor and the Empress expressing their wishes for a very happy marriage.

Sun In Chinese Mythology

Chinese mythology is particularly expansive, and there are many stories that have been told about the sun.

One myth about the solar eclipse and what causes it notes that during the solar eclipse, there was a celestial dog that attacks the sun, and this dog has to be scared off for the sun’s light to be restored. As a result, during each solar eclipse, the temples would mark this occurrence by ringing the bells in the temples.

There is another traditional tale about the sun in which it is believed that a 3-legged raven, cockerel, or toad lives in the sun. And perhaps either of these animals living in the sun would cause an eclipse?

The most notable story about the sun, however, is the legend of the most skilled archer. It is believed that during the early days, there were 10 suns, and because the extreme heat from these suns ravaged the earth, the Emperor asked the skilled archer Houyi to solve the problem. The 10 suns are believed to have been brothers who were supposed to merge into one as commanded by the Jade Emperor, but they disobeyed this rule at a time, and all of them decided to go out in the sky to play at the same time, making the earth unbearable to live in. Hou Yi was sent to handle the situation. He was able to shoot down nine out of the 10 suns, and life on earth was tolerable once again. Although the emperor was not the happiest with this outcome, the archer’s skills saved the earth.

However, in a more recent tale of the sun, Mao Zedong was compared to the celestial star, with Mao badges noted to have been rounded and symbolic of the red sun burning in our hearts. This is captured in a patriotic Chinese song; the East Is Red, And The Sun Ascends.

Sun God In Chinese Mythology

The sun god or the Deity of the sun is known as Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun in Chinese mythology. The name is translated into the Solar Palace’s Star-Lord. In some of the Chinese mythologies, the sun god is believed to have been the great archer, Hou Yi.

The other tale of the sun involves the sun’s eclipse, which is believed to have been caused by the magical dragon or dog that bites off a piece of the sun. This is said to have taken place in the year 2136BC, and it was told by two astronomers of the royal army, Ho and Hi. The two were consequently executed because they failed to prevent the solar eclipse.

Moon Meaning In Chinese

What does the moon symbolize in chinese culture? According to Chinese traditions, the moon is an element that is associated with brightness and gentleness. It expresses the beautiful things and yearnings that the Chinese people have. And so, on the 15th day of the lunar 8th month, which is also when there is a full moon in the sky, families come together in reunion for the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival is also marked by families enjoying the full moon as a great/ auspicious token of harmony, abundance, and good luck.

Moon In Chinese Mythology

Like the sun, there are many legends told by the Chinese people about and related to the moon.

One of the most popular tales of the moon is that of goddess Chang’e. This tale is common throughout China. It is said that Chang’e, or the Chinese goddess of the moon, stole the elixir of immortality that Hou Yi, her husband, had kept safe. The goddess drank all the elixir and soon after started to float towards heaven. Hou Yi used his bow and arrow and successfully landed Chang’e on the moon where she lives to date, accompanied by the Jade rabbit. Hou Yi visits her every year on the 15th during the Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival, and her story is one of the stories celebrated and recounted during the festival.

As a result, the Chinese culture and people recognize the moon as being a symbol of family reunions, peace, and prosperity. The round shape of the moon is also symbolic of the family reunion.

Moon God In Chinese Mythology

In Chinese mythology, the moon god is a goddess called Chang’e. She was known for stealing the elixir of immortality from her husband, the great archer called Hou Yi, who had been gifted the elixir by the gods for the both of them. Since Chang’e drank all the elixir, albeit in a state of panic, she floated up high but ended up on the moon, where she is visited by her husband each year during the Moon Festival.

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