What is the origin story of humanity’s story on earth? For the Chinese, the story begins in remote antiquity and it stars none other than the Goddess Nuwa. Prior to Nuwa’s creation, there was the creation of Pangu, but that is another story for another day. When Pangu died, there already existed a countless number of living beings in the universe.
Humans, however, had not yet appeared on the scene. It would be tens of thousands of years before a mother goddess by the name of Nuwa appeared to create humans. Her appearance, by modern day standards, would be considered very odd. She had the head of a human and the body of a snake.
When she arrived on earth from the heavens, Nuwa discovered all around her the beasts of the land and the birds of the sky. In the early days, these animals and birds provided her with boundless happiness and made her feel exceptionally blessed. But as time passed and went on and on, Nuwa started to become depressed.
Nuwa wanted a companion that she could talk to, could speak to, and could express herself to. One fine day, in a moment of boredom, Nuwa used a twig to stir the moist clay that lay by her side. At the will of her blessed hands, Nuwa blew one breath into the clay figure and gave it life. She had fashioned not only a woman who could speak, but also one who could understand her intentions.
While Nuwa thought that this was interesting, she realised that the woman might feel lonely, too; and Nuwa did not want that. So Nuwa made a man and allowed the two to become partners. When she saw these two people side-by-side, Nuwa became extremely happy again. She continued to make more and more people…
Then, the moment came when she became tired.
Nuwa dipped her twig into the mud and threw it into the sky. The mud fell to the earth, creating even more humans. In order to allow humans the ability to reproduce and create succeeding generations, Nuwa allowed the men and women to mate and marry.
It was the beginning of the human race.
The joyful lives of humans, however, did not last very long. One day, the earth and humanity suffered a sudden great catastrophe. The sky cracked and the earth split open. Fires raged and flooding became frequent.
Nuwa did not have the heart to witness the suffering and destruction of her beloved creation. So she refined a five-coloured stone and used it to repair the hole in the sky. With the use of mud, she stopped the floods. With this great effort by Nuwa, the peace and tranquility of humanity was restored.
In order to express their gratitude to Nuwa for her benevolence, humans bestowed her with the title ‘Mother Goddess’. They honoured her as the Creator of the Human Race and offered her sacrifices.
Due to this myth, Chinese people, even till today, have a profound sense about their land. Even when travelling great distances, people often take with them a bit of soil from their native hometown as a memorial of who they are and where they come from.