Chinese Valentine's Day

Time of Chinese Valentine's Day

Chinese Valentine's Day falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. It is also known as Double-Seventh Day or Qixi Festival. It could be dated back to as early as the Han dynasty. Been linked to a romance myth called The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd ,this  day has been the Chinese traditional Valentine’s day for quite a long time. Many traditions on this festival have influence in the neighborhood countries such as Japan, Korean and Vietnam.On May 20th 2006, the Double-Seventh Festival has been included in the list of national intangible culture heritage by State Council.

Origin of Chinese Valentine's Day

The Double-Seventh Day is a day commemorated for weaving girl who is good at doing weaving. It’s a day for female. Zhi’nv is regarded as a WEAVING GODNESS, females in folk pray to her not only for intelligence and skills, but a happy marriage. The activities are various from place to place, the most famous is ‘thread a needle’, that is, the fastest one can get intelligence and skills, loser have to send a gift to the winner. Other activities include worship Vega, celebration for cows, etc. Gradually, the Double-Seventh Day was spread to some of Southeast Asia countries and South Korea and Japan.

Legend of Chinese Valentine's Day 

Legend of Chinese Valentine's Day
Legend of Chinese Valentine's Day

Looking up at the sky this day, you will find the romance is going on in the dark blue. According to the celestial phenomena, the ancient Chinese people created this love story, and the earliest recorded reference to this fairy tale can be  traced back to 2600 years ago.
In the east of the Milky Way, there is the Star Vega that is believed to be the weaving girl. And in the west side, there is constellation of Aquila that is the cowboy waiting for his wife. The weaving girl was the youngest  daughter of the Goddess. Belonging to the heaven, her daily life was to all about work which was  weaving the colorful clouds in the sky together with her other sisters.  Whereas the cowboy led was just a poor boy on the  earth lived a lonely life with an  old ox.
One day the weaving girl and her sisters had decided to have a day off and had come to earth for fun. She came across with the cowboy and they fell in love with each other at the first sight. When her sisters had finish their short trip and decided its time to get back heaven and keep working, the weaving girl had determined to give up her immortal life and stay on earth  with  the cowboy. Soon they get married and had a happy life with their two lovely kids. However, before long the Queen had learned their secret and got annoyed about the couple's behavior. The Queen had set out a few soldiers to get the weaving girl back to haven and put her back to work as the old times.Seeing his wife flying back to the Heaven under duress, cowboy was heart-broken. As to the weaving girl, she missed her husband too much and the clouds she woven were filled with sadness. At this point, surprisingly enough the old ox  started to talk, it told the cowboy that to kill it and use its fur as a cope to sneak up to the heaven find his wife. Though feeling desperately sad, he did what the ox told him to do. He took his two kids with him to fly to heaven and finally meet  his wife, yet they been caught by the queen and being outraged, she took off her hairpin and stretched a river   in the sky to stop them seeing each other forever.the river was supposed to be the milky way  that apart the weaving girl (the Vega) in one side and the cowboy  ( the Aquila)with their two kids in other side.
In the end, the Queen showed a little mercy allowing them to meet once a year on the seventh day in the seventh lunar month. On this day all the magpies around the world would  fly up into heaven to form a bridge to let them reunion for a single night . In fact, the Star Vega and constellation of Aquila do meet each other on 4 August in the sky.
The fairy tale is  one of China's Four Great Folktales, the others are the Legend of the White Snake,Lady Meng Jiang and Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai.

Traditions of Chinese Valentine's Day

Traditions of Chinese Valentine's Day
Traditions of Chinese Valentine's Day

You will find many Chinese girls preparing  flowers, tea,  melons and grapes to offer prayers to the weaving girl in order to find a better match for themselves. Some girls even place needles on the water and if the needle does not sink, the girl is believed to be mature enough to find a husband.
Lovers go to a match-making temple to pray for a prosperous life ahead. In the evening, they spend their time looking at the stars. People believe that this is the time when Vega and Altair come close. So, this is the best time to witness a beautiful encounter.
The old people of China will also ask you to stand under a grapevine. Gazing  to the dark blue sky and looking for the Vega and Altair shining on each side of  the Milky Way,  you may  get a chance to hear what is being whispering between the husband and wife on their reunion day.
Based on this legend, the magpies who form a magic bridge for this couple to reunion each year have been seen as  symbol for a happy and faithful marriage in China.

Influence to Abroad
Chinese Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day in  South Korea
In Japan, they have a similar tale about the Orihime and Hikoboshi and a festival called Tanabata festival, but being  slightly different than the Chinese Valentine’s day,  their festival is about  girls pray to the goddess for better skills rather than romance and love.
In Vietnam, the fairy tale is known as Ngưu Lang Chức Nữ. On their valentine’s day Young lovers write down their wishes on a note and pray for a happy marriage and life.
Similar influence has been spread out to the other Asia countries such as Korea,Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, as well .They all have a similar fairy tale and people would celebrate this day in praying for nice lover or better skills.

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