In 1280 AD, the Mongolians controlled China (Yuan Dynasty, 1280AD
-1368 AD). Chinese people were oppressed, persecuted and treated
like slaves. Finally, the Chinese had enough and planned a
revolution during the August Moon Festival in 1368.
Because Mongolians don’t eat mooncakes, Chinese people planned to
overthrow the Mongolians by sending secret message in mooncakes. The
message was hidden inside mooncakes and sent to all Chinese
households. The message tell all Chinese people to execute all
Mongolians after the August Moon family gathering and Chinese
families were instructed not to eat the mooncakes until the 15th of
the 8th lunar moon.
The classic tale of Chang-Er, the beautiful moon goddess, is also
associated with the Mooncake Festival. Pictures of her floating to
the moon commonly adorn mooncake boxes. Folklore has it that she was
married to the divine archer Hou Yi, who shot nine out of 10 suns
that were causing havoc. For his deed, the Queen Mother of the West
gave him the elixir of life. Chang-Er stole her husband's potion of
immortality, drank it and found herself floating to the moon. There
she lives out her days in the cold lonely moon palace with a furry
rabbit for companion.
Another myth tells of woodcutter Wu Gang who was banished to the
moon and became Chang-Er's friend and servant. The Jade Emperor
punished Wu Gang by ordering him to cut down a cassia tree. It was a
task that could never be completed as the tree is immortal and would
grow back each time it is felled.
All this legends are always told to children during Mooncake
festival. So, children will look at the full moon in sky and try to
find the shadows of Chang-Er, the rabbit and also the Wu Gang who is
cutting the tree.