Travelling in China, a travel guide book may provide you all the information you need about Chinese culture, beliefs, history and myths. But fully understanding its inhabitants needs going further on the culture. Getting to know some Chinese mythology is just an important part.
Western people have their own version of how the Earth was created according to the Bible, but do you know that even Chinese people are not religious in general and have their own myth about that, all the Chinese people believe that the Heaven and the Earth were created by Pangu in ancient times. More than a myth, it is even written on Chinese history books to explain who the Chinese ancestors were. But don’t get me wrong, they know that it’s a legend. The point is that wherever you go on your China tours every local would know that story, and if the topic comes out in a conversation be sure that they’ll be surprised that you know that kind of legend.
A very long time ago, the Heaven and the Earth were a chaotic gathering of air masses, just like an egg, with Pangu slept inside. He slept for about 18,000 years and then awoke. He found that he was in the dark, so he raised his huge hands and cut into the darkness. At that moment an explosion happened: the Heaven and the Earth started to split. Standing right between the Heaven and the Earth, with hands holding out the sky and feet stamping on the ground, he grew taller and taller, hence the sky became higher and higher while the ground became lower and lower. After the Heaven and the Earth were split, he was still afraid that the sky and the earth could come together again, thus he stood there for another 18,000 years. As a result, the Heaven and the Earth were finally driven away from each other of 90,000 kilometers. As a result, Pangu gradually weakened and finally died. After his death, his body turned into all the things in the universe. His eyes became the Sun and the Moon, his four limbs became mountains, his blood became rivers, lakes and seas, his sinews turned to the field, his arteries changed to the roads and ways, his hair and moustache became the stars in the sky, his skin and body hair became flowers, grass, and woods, his teeth and bones became rocks, glittering pearls and precious stones. His breath became the wind and cloud, his shout became the thunderbolt, and the sweat turned out to be the rain. A lot of insects on his body were blown by wind into living human beings.
This myth has been passed from generations to generations until now among Chinese families. Moreover some ethnic minorities still sing songs about Pangu. This is one of the numerous myths in China, if you appreciated that story you could also read about Fuxi and Nyuwa who are considered as ancestors of Chinese people.