This week (Tuesday 25th September 2018) is the celebration of the Moon festival in China, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia (also called the mid-Autumn Festival). There are a few variations of the origin of the festival but we like to focus on the version that involves Hou Yi, an ancient hero and excellent archer, and the inspiration for our game The Great Archer!..
One year, the ten suns rose in the sky together causing a great disaster to the people. Yi shot down nine of the suns, leaving oneto provide light. An immortal admired Yi and sent him the elixir of immortality. Yi did not want to leave his beloved wife, Chang’e, to become immortal and so he gave the elixir to her to keep safe. However, an apprentice of Yi knew about the secret elixir and wanted immortality for himself. He waited for Yi to leave on a hunting expedition and broke into Yi’s house, forcing Chang’e to deliver the elixir to him. But Chang’e refused and consumed the elixir herself to keep it from Yi’s apprentice. She subsequently flew into the sky and chose to inhabit the moon to be close to her love Hou Yi.
Upon his return, Yi was devastated and felt so sad that he took all the things Chang’e loved the most and displayed the fruits and cakes in the yard, giving sacrifices to his wife. the people heard of Yi’s sadness and they shared his grief and supported him by also making similar displays and sacrifices.
This legend has led to ‘Mooncakes’ being a major part of the moon festival. In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. Thus, the sharing and eating of round mooncakes among family members during the week of the festival signifies the completeness and unity of families, and harks back to the orginal legend in which Yi offered cakes and fruit in sacrifice to the moon.
A major part of the celebration is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns, the lighting of lanterns on towers and the launch of floating sky lanterns. A fun tradition is to compose riddles on the lantern and challenge friends and family to solve the riddle.
As always with our games, we aim to ensure we create themes, symbols and storylines that are culturally sensitive and that resonate with Asian players. The legend of Hou Yi is the main character in our game The Great Archer and so we would like to take this opportunity to wish everyon a happy moon festival.