The sun provides the human race with so much: energy, life-giving heat, light, and the basis for some incredible myths. Ancient Chinese people believed that an eclipse (or shih, meaning “to eat”) was a celestial dragon taking a bite out of the sun for lunch.
This dragon is so revered that it inspired the Sun Dragon Festival in Conqueror’s Blade, with Chinese culture and the summer season currently being celebrated in Season VIII: Dynasty.
Dragons were also thought to be the bringers of light and the movers of days, drawing the sun chariot across the sky. Written during the time of the Tang Dynasty, a poem named “Suffering from the Shortness of Days” conveyed Li He’s hatred for these scaled legends, due to their part in bringing about the passage of time, and erasing the chance of attaining immortality.
"I will cut off the dragon's feet, chew the dragon's flesh,
so that they can't turn back in the morning or lie down at night.
Left to themselves the old won't die; the young won't cry."
While Li He may hate the sun and how it changes life, others sought to destroy it entirely.
Legend has it that there were initially ten suns, which would cross the sky one by one, until one fateful day they appeared all at once and scorched the Earth. The mythical King Yao recruited the legendary archer Hou Yi to help by shooting the suns down to save the world. When only one remained, the sun’s mother Xihe had to beg Hou Yi to spare it for the prosperity of man.
Hou Yi agreed, but his story would not have a happy ending. After the nine suns were destroyed, he was declared a hero-king by the people... but became a tyrant. He obtained an immortality elixir in the form of a single pill, but his wife Chang’e could not bear to let his tyrannical rule last forever. Instead, she took it herself, floated to the moon, and became a lunar deity. China’s Mid-Autumn Festival in China honours the sacrifice of Chang’e.
You can celebrate these incredible myths and legends too with the ongoing Ready Player Sun event. Enjoy discovering more about Ancient Chinese culture while also receiving free gifts, earning rewards, and more!