Chinese Mythology

The Folk Gods and Spirits of the Middle Kingdom

CHANG'E

Chinese Moon Goddess

Also known as Ch'ang-o, Heng'e, Heng-o, Chang-er

Picture of the Chinese Moon Goddess Chang'e from our Chinese mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders.

Goddess in the Moon

The sister of River God Hebo, she is now the silvery lady of our nearest neighbor in space.

Chang’e started out as the greedy wife of the ill-fated Yi. She gulped down his share of the Elixir of Life, leaving him with nothing. She may have heard the Elixir was great for losing weight — but when she became truly weightless and started floating up to Heaven, she began to regret her impulsiveness.

Fearing Heavenly reprisals, she took refuge in the Moon and was transformed into a toad. There are many things beyond the comprehension of us mere mortals.

All those dreamy moon songs and romantic moony images... and this sort of thing goes on behind our backs! “Give me the moonlight — give me the toad...”

There she remains to this day. She is not alone though. She has a pet rabbit. Yes she does. Yutu the Jade Rabbit keeps her company while he works on his silvery elixirs.

As Lady of the Moon, Chang’e glows with a brilliant eerie light and offers good fortune to those that remember her. Particularly during her festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, when prayers and offerings are most welcome. Occasionally she is allowed to visit Heaven, but an unfortunate experience with the amorous Pigsy left her reluctant to return.

Being separated from her husband Yi, she’s sympathetic to all lovers. That’s why it’s traditional for romantically-inclined couples to cuddle under the silvery moon.

GodNote: As official Chinese spokesdeity for the Lunar surface, Chang’e has donated her name to the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP). In December 2013 the Chang’e Program successfully placed a lander on the moon, with more to follow. So far no images of the moon goddess have been beamed back to Earth.

Chang'e Facts and Figures

Name: Chang'e
Pronunciation: Ccharng Or
Alternative names: Ch'ang-o, Heng'e, Heng-o, Chang-er

Gender: Female
Type: Goddess
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: the Moon
Area of expertise: Moon

Good/Evil Rating: NEUTRAL, may not care
Popularity index: 1244

Cite this article

Here's the info you need to cite this page. Just copy the text in the box below.

Article last revised on April 20, 2019 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

Permissions page