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The Double Seventh day: the Valentine’s Day of China

2016-04-18 16:37:04Share:

  We all know Valentine's Day in the West, while in china, we also have our own Valentine's Day which is called Double Seventh Festival. There is a beautiful love story about this festival passed down from generation to generation.

The Double Seventh day: the Valentine’s Day of China


  Once upon a time, there was an honest and kind-hearted young fellow named Niu Lang whose parents died when he was a child and lived with his elder brother and sister-in-law. Later he was driven out of his home by his sister-in-law and forced to live by himself herding cattle and farming, only an old cow for company.


  One day, a fairy, Zhi Nu (Weaver Maid), who admired an ordinary life and came down secretly to earth. At the first sight, the two young people fell in love with each other and soon married. The cowhand farmed in the field and the Weaver Maid wove at home. They lived a happy life and gave birth to a boy and a girl.


  Unfortunately, the God of Heaven soon found out the fact and ordered the Queen Mother of the Western Heavens to bring the Weaver Maid back. The cowherd missed his wife very much so he decided to take his two kids to see the fairy.


  With the help of his accompanied celestial cattle (a former god who had violated celestial rules and had been sent to earth in bovine form), the Cowhand flew to heaven with his son and daughter. At the time when he was about to catch up with his wife, the Queen Mother took off one of her gold hairpins and made a stroke. One billowy river suddenly appeared in front of the Cowhand and separated the young couple forever.


  Their loyalty to love touched magpies, and tens of thousands of magpies came to build a bridge for the Cowhand and Weaver Maid to meet each other. The Queen Mother was eventually moved and allowed them to meet each year on the 7th of the 7th lunar month. Hence their meeting date has been called "Qi Xi" (Double Seventh).


  Scholars have shown the Double Seventh Festival originated from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD220). Historical documents from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD371-420) mention the festival, while records from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) depict the grand evening banquet of Emperor Taizong and his concubines. By the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties, special articles for the "Qi Xi" were seen being sold on markets in the capital.


  Today, although some traditional customs have been weakened in urban cities, the beautiful love legend has taken root in the hearts of people in all ages. In recent years, in particular, urban young people have celebrated it as Valentine's Day in China.

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