3 things you should know about the QIXI Festival coming up in AUGUST!
What is this festival and why is it so important in China? Find out HERE!
For most young Chinese people, the Qixi Festival, which celebrates the annual gathering of the mythological Cowherd and Weaver Girl, has become a romantic annual occasion for expressing their affection to their loved ones just like a Chinese Valentine’s Day! However, do you know the origins of this traditional Chinese festival? Is it really the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day? What do people usually do on this unique occasion? Join us on this blog to explore the fun facts and mythology behind the Qixi festival coming right up in AUGUST!
The festival originated from the tale of The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, one of the four most famous pieces of ancient Chinese folklore. The earliest known reference to this famous myth dates back to over 2,600 years ago, and was told in a poem from the Classic of Poetry. As far back as the Han Dynasty, the practices of the festival were conducted in accordance with formal ceremonial state rituals. Over time, the festival activities also came to include customs practiced by the common people. Though it originated in China, the Qixi Festival inspired the Tanabata festival in Japan, Chilseok festival in Korea, and Thất Tịch festival in Vietnam.
What are the Ancient Traditions for this Festival?
Romantic as it sounds, the festival was not originally aimed at lovers, but a festival for girls to demonstrate their domestic skills and to worship the Weaver Girl for her wisdom. Traditionally, girls would take part in worshiping the celestials during rituals, and go to local temples to pray to the Weaver Girl. Paper items were usually burned as offerings, and the girls would recite traditional prayers to bring dexterity in needle work, which in ancient China symbolized the talents and virtues of a good spouse.
Sometimes, contests were held to see who was the best at threading needles under low-light conditions, such as the glow of a half-moon. On this day, Chinese would gaze into the sky to look for Vega and Altair shining in the Milky Way. If it rained on the festival, it meant the couple had been moved to tears by their precious reunion.
What are the Modern Day Celebrations and why is it known as the “Chinese Valentine’s Day”
The Qixi Festival, celebrated on August 14th, also known as the Double Seventh Festival or Qiqiao Festival, is the most romantic of all traditional Chinese holidays. In modern times, businessmen in China have used the opportunity to market the festival as “China’s Valentine’s Day”, turning it into a highly profitable annual shopping festival. It’s a time to celebrate star-crossed lovers with grand romantic gestures, boxes of chocolates and longing for true love.
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