Qixi Festival, Chinese Valentine’s Day
Qixi Festival(simplified Chinese: 七夕节) also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day is one of Chinese most important traditional festivals. On the night of July-7 in Lunar Calendar, it is warm and comfortable and many unmarried girls will go outside and watch the Milky Way. It is said that this night is the only meeting time of Niu Lang and Zhi Nv every year. Lasted for a long time, Qixi Festival annually is esteemed as the most romantic festival among many folk festivals. It is also the most important time to unmarried girls, and on this day, girls used to weave and make some garnishry, so Qixi Festival is also named Nv Er Festival or Girl Festival.
|Folk customs of girls praying to the moon and throwing a needle into a bowl of water on the evening of Qixi Festival.|
It is said that on July 7 every year, people under the grape shelf can hear the heavenly music latently and also hear this couple is affectionately talking. So the unmarried girls on the earth would also watch them to pray for getting a husband like Niu Lang and a happy marriage like this couple. For lasting thousands of years, this special night has gradually become a festival and has been named Qixi Festivals. In many people’s memory, they were all moved in mind by this love story from their mothers or grandmothers in childhood. It is one essential part of Chinese spiritual culture or oral culture that less and less known by new-born generation.
Origin & Folklores & Legend:
Qixi Festival is closely combined with a classic folk legend named Niu Lang(牛郎) and Zhi Nv（织女）, which is a beautiful, old and touching love story ranked one of Chinese Four Top Folk Love Stories.
|Folk legend love story of Niu Lang-Zhi Nv. Separated by the Empress, the couple can reunite only once in a year, namely on the evening of the 7th day of the 7th lunar month (Qixi Festival). Magpies gather to form a bridge for the couple to meet.|
There is said to be a Zhinv Star (Vega) who was a fair girl on heaven and a Qianniu Star (Altair) who was a good-looking young man. Both of them fell in love with each other deeply. However, on heaven, the gods’ love was forbidden absolutely. And their love was finally found by Empress. Zhinv was the granddaughter of Empress. Niulang was punished to fall down to the earth, and Zhinv was penalized to do the non-stop job of weaving the brocade day and night. The job of Zhinv was weaving endless colorized clouds into a marvelous kind of silk, and the clouds changed in line with the change of time and seasons. Since Niulang left, Zhinv shed tears all days long and still missed Niulang too much. She worked hard every second as to wish to satisfy Empress and let Empress allow Niulang’s return. One day, several fairies begged Empress to allow their earth trip in Bilian Pool. At that day, empress had a good mood and agreed them. These fairies also suggested going there together with Zhinv when they saw she was so sad. Empress both could not withstand seeing her granddaughter was so unhappy all the time, and also permitted their request on the condition that they should go and come back as soon as they could. This is a perfect occasion for augmenting Zhi Nv’s opportunity to see her beloved Niu Lang. A heart-warming and impressive story took place.
After Niulang fall down to earth as his penalty of breaking the heavenly laws, he was reborn in a farmer’s family. Later, his parents passed away and he lived with his elder brother and brother’s wife. But this couple treated Niulang badly, and finally separated the family with Niulang. They just gave Niulang an old ox and a broken wheelbarrow. Since then, Niulang led a life with this old ox. They worked hard to assart the wild land and do the farming as well as build their house. But actually, Niulang’s life was isolated and lonely except this speechless ox. In fact he did know this ox was also a god on heaven, and it was Gold-Ox Star. One day, the old ox suddenly mouthed and said to Niulang: Niulang, go to Bilian Pool; some fairies are having bath there, and you hide the red clothes for the fairy wearing red will be your wife. Niulang was shocked and asked Ox:”Brother Ox, you can speak! Is your word true?” Ox nodded, and Niulang arrived and hid in the reed of Bilian Pool to wait the arrival of the fairy. In a short time, these fairies flew down and put off their clothes to have a bath in pool. Niulang quickly came out and took the red clothes away. The fairies saw him and suddenly put on their clothes and flew away like bird except the fairy without clothes, and she was Zhinv. Zhinv was worried and shy when her clothes were stolen. At this time, Niulang appeared and let Zhinv be his wife. Zhinv found carefully this young man was indeed her Qianniu star. Hence, Zhinv became Niulang’s wife. After marriage, this couple loved each other and led a happy life; also they had one son and one daughter.
However, Empress was furious when she knew this message, and appointed the heavenly army to catch Zhinv. On this day, when Zhinv was cooking, Niulang came back and cried to Zhinv that Ox died. Before the death, ox told Niulang to denude his skin, because some day it was needed for flying. Zhinv knew that this ox was God-Ox Star who was demoted to earth just for speaking out some impartial words. They buried the ox well.
But later, the gales happened. The heavenly troop suddenly appeared and caught Zhinv away. Zhinv was very sad and suddenly heard the word from Niuliang:”Zhinv, waiting me!” Zhinv in the sky turned around and saw Niulang shouldering two baskets where their son and daughter sat. Niulang wore the ox skin and flew behind her and her infants were crying aloud. When they almost came together, Empress appeared by clouds. She pulled out hairpin from her hairs and took a draw amid them. A large heavenly river (Milky Way) appeared between this couples. They could not go across any more. This family was separated unconditionally and unreasonably. Zhinv crazily cried on one side, and Niulang together with his infants cried on the other side. They can not meet any more. All the fairies and gods at present were touched deeply, even Empress was also a little bit moved by their love and then agreed that Niulang and his infants can stay on heaven, also they can meet once a year. The meeting day is lunar 7, July.
Since then, this couple is forced to live on both sides of the Milky Way, and they looked at each other from afar. In autumn’s evening, people can easily find two brighter stars lying on the both sides of Milky River. They are Niulang and Zhinv. And beside Niulang, there are two little stars, which are their son and daughter. On the evening of lunar 7 July, a large number of pied magpies built a temporary bridge with their bodies for this couple’s meeting.
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