Prepare for something romantic and mystical, because on 17 August we will celebrate the Qixi festival! Also known as the Qiqiao festival, it is a Chinese festival that celebrates the annual meeting of the cowherd and the weaver girl in Chinese mythology. The Qixi festival is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month on the Chinese calendar, and also inspired the Tanabata festival in Japan and Chilseok festival in Korea.
Qixi festival originated from the romantic legend of two lovers, Zhinü the weaver girl, symbolizing the star Vega, and Niulang the cowherd, symbolizing the star Altair. Their love was not allowed, thus they were banished to opposite sides of the Silver River (symbolizing the Milky Way Galaxy). Once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite the lovers for one day. Many variations of the story also exist. The tale has been celebrated in the Qixi Festival since the Han Dynasty. The earliest-known reference to this famous myth dates back to over 2600 years ago, which was told in a poem from the Classic of Poetry.
On Qixi festival, Chinese people will gaze to the sky to look for Vega and Altair shining in the Milky Way. It was said that if it rains on that day, it was caused by a river sweeping away the magpie bridge or that the rain is the tears of the separated couple. Newlywed couples will worship the celestial couple for the last time and bid farewell to them, as Qixi festival is a symbol for a happy marriage and showed that the married woman was treasured by her new family.
Qixi festival is also celebrated by giving flowers, chocolates, and other gifts to romantic partners. Zhinü was a weaver, therefore it is also popular for girls to give handmade scarves or hats. Couples will also go for a special date.
Even if you do not celebrate the Qixi festival, you could still share the spirit by letting your romantic partner know how much you love them. Send them gifts, either handmade or not. Go for a date. Or simply be there by their sides!
How about you? Tell us your favorite Qixi festival activity, or share your most memorable Qixi festival celebration!