Exploring Asteroids In Chinese Folklore

  1. Introduction
  2. Asteroids in Chinese Mythology
    1. The Legend of Houyi and Chang'e
    2. The Cowherd and Weaver Girl
  3. Asteroids in Chinese Culture
    1. The Jade Rabbit
    2. Five Elements Theory
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Conclusion
  6. Additional Resources


Asteroids have captured the imagination of human beings since ancient times. From the tales of gods and goddesses to the latest scientific discoveries, asteroids continue to intrigue and fascinate us. One fascinating aspect of asteroids is the role they play in folklore and mythology across cultures. In this article, we explore the rich tradition of asteroids in Chinese folklore.

Asteroids in Chinese Mythology

An stunning image of an asteroid field surrounding a large red dwarf star, with intricate asteroid craters illuminated by its light

The Legend of Houyi and Chang'e

The ancient Chinese legend of Houyi and Chang'e features prominently in the country's mythology surrounding the moon and stars. According to the myth, there were ten suns in the sky that scorched the earth, causing chaos and destruction. Houyi, a skilled archer, was called upon by the people to save them. He shot down nine of the ten suns and was rewarded with the elixir of immortality.

However, Houyi's wife, Chang'e, drank the elixir and was unable to return to earth. She flew up to the moon and became a moon goddess. Houyi was left alone on earth, gazing at the moon, and is said to have eventually died of loneliness.

The bright dots on the moon are believed to be the reflection of Chang'e and her jade rabbit as they watch over humanity. The asteroid 8355 Houyi is named after the legendary archer in tribute to his heroic feat.

The Cowherd and Weaver Girl

The Chinese legend of the Cowherd and Weaver Girl tells the story of two lovers who were separated by the Milky Way. The Cowherd, represented by the star Altair, and the Weaver Girl, represented by the star Vega, could only meet once a year when the magpies formed a bridge over the Milky Way.

The Chinese celebrate this reunion on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, known as Qixi Festival or Double Seventh Festival. The festival is also known as the Magpie Festival, and it is believed that if it rains on this day, it is the tears of the separated lovers.

The asteroid 11235 Cowherd is named after the protagonist of this famous love story in Chinese mythology.

Asteroids in Chinese Culture

A vivid asteroid streaks across the dark blue Earth sky, tearing through the atmosphere with debris and smoke in tow

The Jade Rabbit

In Chinese folklore, there is a story of a jade rabbit who lives on the moon with Chang'e. The jade rabbit uses a mortar and pestle to pound out the elixir of life, which gives immortality and good health to those who drink it. The image of the jade rabbit can be seen in traditional Chinese artwork and is a well-known symbol of the moon.

The asteroid 3474 Xiaoxiang is named after the scenic area located in Hunan Province, China. It's said that the jade rabbit lives there, among the beautiful mountains and rivers of the region.

Five Elements Theory

The Chinese Five Elements Theory is an ancient belief system that attributes the universe's creation and order to five elemental energies: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. These elements are closely connected to the movement of the heavenly bodies, including asteroids and comets.

Chinese astrologers use the Five Elements Theory to determine a person's destiny based on their birth year. Each year has a corresponding element and animal sign, which is believed to influence the individual's personality, career, relationships, and fortunes.

Asteroids are also believed to have elemental associations. For example, 4 Vesta is considered a metal asteroid, while 2 Pallas is associated with water energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

A spacecraft approaches a colossal asteroid with jagged edges, drones flying around to collect samples
  • What do asteroids symbolize in Chinese culture?

    Asteroids are significant in Chinese mythology and culture, representing various cosmic forces and energies. They are associated with the concepts of immortality, love, and rebirth.

  • Which asteroids are associated with Chinese folklore?

    The asteroid 8355 Houyi is named after the legendary archer who shot down nine suns in Chinese mythology. The asteroid 11235 Cowherd is named after the protagonist of the famous love story of the Cowherd and Weaver Girl.

  • How are asteroids related to the Five Elements Theory?

    Asteroids are believed to have elemental associations in Chinese astrology, which links them to the Five Elements Theory. Each asteroid can be classified based on its elemental nature and used for divination and prediction.

  • What is the significance of Qixi Festival in Chinese culture?

    Qixi Festival or Double Seventh Festival is an important celebration in Chinese culture, representing the reunion of two lovers separated by the Milky Way. It is also known as the Magpie Festival and symbolizes hope, love, and devotion.

  • What is the story of the jade rabbit in Chinese folklore?

    The jade rabbit is a beloved figure in Chinese folklore, representing immortality and good health. It lives on the moon with Chang'e, pounding the elixir of life with a mortar and pestle. The jade rabbit is also associated with the scenic region of Xiaoxiang in Hunan Province.


Asteroids have held an important place in Chinese mythology and culture for thousands of years. Their association with cosmic forces, elemental energies, and symbols of love and longevity has shaped the country's folklore and folklore traditions. By exploring the stories and legends that surround asteroids in Chinese culture, we gain a new appreciation for these celestial objects' role in humanity's imagination and history.

If you enjoyed reading about asteroids in Chinese folklore and culture, be sure to explore more topics on www.asteroidrealm.com. Don't forget to share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

Additional Resources

Dash - An exquisite depiction of a traditional Chinese rocket launch, set against a backdrop of a cosmic panorama

If you want to discover more articles similar to Exploring Asteroids In Chinese Folklore, you can visit the Asteroid Mythology category.

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