(Exploration in Xian’an about Culture Related to Goddess in the Moon)
There are two major legends about Chang’e. It is said that the Chang’e was developed from phoenix. The phoenix, or “golden pheasant” called by the local people, tried to make pills of immortality inside Taohua Cave on Zhongtai Hill in Damu Town and then became Chang’e after attunement of Buddha in Zhongtai Temple. Chang’e pooled water out of Taohua Cave to rescue the villagers when a severe drought hit the village at the mountain. Then the villagers built a Toaist Taohua Temple where there was wooden carved statue of Chang’e and many people from Wuchang and Daye came to worship it. In 1943 when the Japanese raided Damu Mountain, a Japanese soldier entered Taoist Taohua Temple and got numbed and fell dead at touching the statue of Chang’e. The Japanese thought Chang’e might appear soon and then set fire to Taoist Taohua Temple. Suddenly, a golden pheasant which was said to be the phoenix flew straight up into sky. Therewith the village was named “Flying pheasant”.
It is also said that Chang’e was originally a girl at Kunlong Mount in Guihua Town. One day, while the girl was admiring herself in a stone mirror at a cliff, a pigsy which disguised himself as a mendicant monk hid behind her and peeped at her, which was discovered by her husband Hou Yi who had just come back from hunting. Then pigsy was scared and ran and Hou Yi holding an arrow chased him. Beside a stone wall, Hou Yi shot the fake monk who then could not move. And the village at the stone wall is still called “Stone monk” today.
There are positive and derogative stories about image and life experience of Chang’e among Xian’an folklore and they are consistent with emergence and development of Chang’e. Many stories such as" Chang'e became a Moon Evil Spirit "and" Chang’e Is Helen of Troy" and even the novel Pilgrimage to the West in which description about Chang’e is focused on her relationship with the amorist pigsy" were obviously fabricated ". But the story" Chang'e was Treated Unjustly" clearly shows Xian’an people’s sympathy for Chang’e. Xian’an people’s worshiping Chang’e is sincere. In Xian’an, Chang’e is embodiment of deity ,fairy, beauty, love.
There are many odes to Chang’e in Xian’an. Singing of beauties, people always compare their beauty with Chang’e. For example, the planting drum and digging drum sings of Chang’e in “A Short Divine Song”
Flew into sky due to stealing magic pills.
The supreme deity of Taoism punished her,
Made archer Yi miss her day in and day out.
She is playing a leading role among all fairies.
During exhibition of lanterns in lunar January15th, Chang’e is sung of in wagon performance. Take the song “Waving a Fan for Ten Times” in case.
The second time a fan is waved.
There appears legend about the goddess Chang’e.
Chang’e, a fairy in the moon,
Unfortunate to be reduced to toad.
Grievance can never be all told.
Chang’e is in love songs. “Embroidering Ten Things”
The sixth to be embroidered
A jade hare coming to accompany Chang’e,
Cozy in her cuddle
For several thousand years.
With Wu Gang busy cutting down trees
Chang’e is in Nursery rhyme. ”Moon Song”
First day it is a line
Second day it is invisible
I can’t wait to see her
Thirteenth or fourteenth day she is like brow
Fifteenth day she is round
My pretty Chang’e!
How delighted meeting you!
(By Tan Huilong)