The moon rabbit also known as Jade Rabbit is being said to be spotted on the moon. Sounds weird right? Well, it isn’t a joke in most Asian countries. Many Asian countries celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival or the Moon Festival as one of the most important festivals. It is celebrated to worship the Moon Goddess Chang’e during the time of harvest wishing for bountiful fruitage.
The Rabbit has been keeping the Moon Goddess Chang’e ever since it was sent on the moon. On the night of the festival, people look up to the moon and claim that they can see the Jade Rabbit pounding something in a mortar.
How Did the Rabbit End Up on the Moon
There are different stories in different countries which celebrate moon festival about how the rabbit ended up on the moon and what he’s pounding. But it all firstly goes back to how he ended up on the moon. The Rabbit was not always known as the Jade Rabbit, it used to be a normal animal living on the Earth. Everything in his life changed the day when the Jade Emperor transformed himself into an old man and went in search of food.
On his way, he came across a monkey, otter, jackal and rabbit. He asked them if they could provide them with something to eat, the monkey jumped from one tree to another and got him fruits, the otter got him fish and the jackal stole some milk curds and brought it to the old man, while the rabbit, on the other hand, could only find grass. Knowing that he couldn’t offer grass for a human to eat he offered himself and jumped right into the fire that the old man had started, looking that his boldness, the old man was impressed and revealed his true identity. As a reward for his bravery, the Jade Emperor sent him off to the moon to live as the immortal Rabbit and it has been known as the Jade Rabbit ever since. He also is a companion to the Moon Goddess and keeps her company.
So, you see, the rabbit wasn’t just a cute and adorable animal, it was the qualities that got him the honour of living on the moon. He was sent there so that people could look up to him and reflect his selflessness, sacrificial nature and nerve into themselves.
What are the Things Said to be Pounded by the Jade Rabbit
In China, the Jade Rabbit is said to pound the elixir of life for Chang’e. But he was unsuccessful in his attempts and is seen pounding in his mortar for years trying to brew the right elixir. When people in China, in the present time look up to the moon they believe they can see the Jade Rabbit still attempting to brew the elixir.
Japan and Korea also celebrate the Moon Festival and there it is said that the Moon Rabbit pounds mochi or rice cakes in his pestle. In Korea, the rabbit is a symbol of fertility and thus is celebrated with delight all over the country. Conversely, in Japan, the rabbit is the symbol of cleverness and self-devotion. The story behind the Moon Rabbit in these countries is similar to that in China but has slight alterations.