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Chinese Valentines Day

By Super Admin

China celebrates its valentines day (Qi Xi) on the seventh eve of the seventh month in the Chinese Lunar calendar. The origin has an interesting love story behind it. Read further to know the love legend, and the celebrations on Chinese valentines day.

The love story of cowherd and weaver girl

Niulang, a poor orphaned cowherd, was gifted with an immortal ox from the heaven. One day Niulang happened to cross the nearby lake where the seven fairy sisters were bathing. The ox asked Niulang to hide their clothes to see the consequences. One of the fairies had to go to Niulang to retrieve their clothing and the youngest and most beautiful sister Zhinu (the weaver girl) went to get their clothing. Zhinu was the fairy who weaved beautiful clouds and rainbows in the sky. Since Niulang saw her naked, she agreed to his request for marriage.

The couple got married and had two children. However, the goddess of heaven got furious about her daughter's marriage with a mere mortal. She instructed Zhinu to come back. She made a wide river in the sky with the help of her hairpin to separate the lovers. However she allowed the separated lovers to unite once in a year on seventh night of the seventh moon. This day is celebrated as valentines day in China.

The seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar for 2007 would be on 19th August.

Variation in the story

The story has a range of variances. Some of them are listed below,

  • The magpies in the world take pity on them and form a bridge over the star Deneb, so that the lovers may be together for a single night.
  • In another legend Niulang (star Altair) and Zhinu (star Vega) are 2 pixies living on opposite side of the Milky Way galaxy. The Emperor tried to bring them together as they were the lonely fairies. However after they fell in love they discarded their work. Emperor was infuriated due to this misbehavior and allows them to meet only once a year, on the seventh night of the seventh moon. Their children are the flanking stars Alshain and Tarazed.
  • Traditions

    Here are some of the unique and interesting traditional practices followed on Chinese valentines day.

    • Hoping to find suitable husbands girls offer fruits and incense stick to Zhinu.
  • In some Chinese provinces, people decorate flowers on ox's head to protect themselves from all disasters.
  • Girls throw five colour ropes on the roof for magpies. They believe that magpie's will carry this rope to build a bridge for Zhinu and Niulang.
  • To test their embroidery skills, unmarried girls throw a sewing needle into the bowl full of water in the previous night. If the needle doesn't sink but floats on top of the water, it is a pointer that the girl is a skilled embroiderer like Zhinu.
  • February 14 in China

    The western fete is widely celebrated among Chinese youth who jump at every chance to reveal their love. Shopping malls are decorated with hearts and red balloons. Western style restaurants are booked in advance for the great dinner party. Special rose breeds like blue roses are sold in tens of thousands although it cost more than 180 Yuan. Some websites organize single parties for the people who do not have a sweetheart. However the soaring sales of roses and chocolates don't mean that all the Chinese accept February 14 as valentines day. It makes no sense among China's huge rural population.

    The day, culture, tradition and celebration may differ but the theme of love remains the same. So given a chance celebrate love on whichever day possible. Let your sweetheart know how special he/she to you.

    Read more about: valentines day
    Story first published: Wednesday, January 31, 2007, 9:44 [IST]
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