Qi Xi Festival, a Romantic Tribute

Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qi Xi Jie) occurs on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month. In 2007, Qi Xi Jie falls on August 19, 2007. As is the custom elsewhere in the world, this is a day devoted to romance. In China, this day is also known as "Qi Xi Jie" (literally meaning the Seventh Eve Festival) or "The Daughter's Festival."

There are many stories as to the origins of Chinese Valentine's Day, and one of them involves the 7th daughter of the Emperor Heaven, who is called Zhi Nu (Weaving Maid) and Niu Lang, an orphaned cowherd. The Emperor separated them. The 7th daughter was forced to move to the star Vega and the cowherd moved to the star Altair, separated by the Milky Way. They are allowed to meet only once a year on the day of 7th day of 7th lunar month.

This beautiful tale has its origins in the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220). All Chinese people are told the story when they are children. The festival is also based on an annual astronomical phenomenon. Every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, two particular stars are bright in the night sky and shine until the sun rises. One of the stars is thought to be the weaving girl and the other the cowherd.

Unlike St. Valentine's Day in Western countries, there is not so much emphasis on giving chocolates, flowers and kisses. Instead, Chinese girls prepare fruits, melons and incenses offerings to Zhi Nu, the weaving maiden, praying to acquire high skills in needlecraft, as well as hoping to find satisfactory husbands.

Long ago, Chinese girls always wanted to train themselves having a good handcrafting skill like the Weaving Maid. The skill is essential for their future family. On that night, the unmarried girls may pray for the Weaving Maid star to let them become smarter. When the star Vega is high up in the sky, girls do a test, which is to put a needle on the water surface. If the needle doesn't sink, then girl is already smart enough and ready to find a husband. Girls may ask for any wish, but only one per year.

In the evening, people sit outdoors to observe the stars. Chinese grannies would say that, if you stand under a grapevine, you can probably overhear what Zhi Nu and Niu Lang are talking about. People in love like to go to the temple of Matchmaker and pray for their love and the possible marriage in China. People still single will do the same thing to ask their luck of love in the Matchmaker temple.

 

Source: http://www.jbxy.net/
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