The Qiqiao Festival  

Falling on the seventh day of seventh lunar month, double seventh festival, also known as Qiqiao Festival or Girls' Festival, is the most romantic festival among all Chinese traditional festivals. It is often regarded as Chinese Valentine's Day, related to a legend handed down for thousands of years.

According to legends, the Cowhand (a kind hearted fellow from the earth) and Weaver Maid (a fairy from the heaven skillful at needlework) fell in love with each other. According to the law of the heaven, they couldn't get married because they were from different world. Finally, they were separated by one billowy river, which separated them on the two banks forever. They couldn't see each other but feel their tears. Later, their loyalty to love touched magpies, so tens of thousands of magpies came to build a bridge for the Cowhand and Weaver Maid to meet each other. Finally, the heaven was moved and the Cowhand and Weaver Maid were allowed to meet each other on the seventh of the seventh lunar month. Hence their meeting date has been called "Qi Xi" or Double Seventh. This love story is so beautiful that it has been passed down from generation to generation.

In ancient China, Double Seventh Festival was loved by girls, and that's why it is also called Girls' Festival. Chinese women, especially unmarried ones, used to take this festival quite seriously. In the evening, they offered incense, sewing kits, fruit and flowers to the Altair and Vega stars, known respectively in Chinese folklore as the Herd Boy and Weaving Girl stars. They prayed for cleverness in needlework and marital bliss because they believed that marital happiness came only if their sewing skills were up to scratch.

Today, the Double Seventh Festival is also popular in some places. Urban youths have celebrated it as Valentine's Day in China. On that day, owners of flower shops, bars and stores are full of joy as they sell more commodities for love.

Editor: Shi Liwei


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