China hops into the rabbit year. That means it’s time to take a look inside the rabbit hutch of Chinese culture. Time to take a look inside the rabbit hutch of Chinese culture. While the Easter bunny is the best-known breed in the West, the “moon rabbit” (月兔 yuètù) or “jade rabbit” (玉兔 yùtù) munches its way through classical mythology in the Middle Kingdom. Every child in China knows him as the companion of the moon goddess (or moon fairy) Chang’e (嫦娥 Cháng’é), for whom he stamps the elixir of life with his device on the earth’s satellite. The earliest mention of this “rabbit on the moon” dates back to the time of the Warring States (475 – 221 BC). In linguistic use, the story has manifested itself over the centuries in such a way that 月兔 yuètù and 玉兔 yùtù are still common synonyms for the moon in contemporary Chinese.
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