The Qi Xi Festival, or the Chinese Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar and it’s the time of year to get all loved up!
This is the most romantic festival celebrated by the Chinese and is therefore held in the highest esteem.
Instead of going all soppy on you and talking about everything hearts and flowers related, we’ve decided to give you ten weird facts about the celebration that you can enjoy…
1. Asking for embroidery skills
Yes you read correctly, it is during this day that young girls will throw a sewing needle into a bowl of water on the evening of Qi Xi as a test of their embroidery skills. It’s said that if the needle floats to the top of the water, instead of sinking, that the young girl is skilled at embroidering.
2. Single women start praying
Those women who are single will begin praying to find a good husband during the festival. Meanwhile, those women who are newly married pray to become pregnant very soon.
3. The legend of Chinese Valentine’s Day
The legend behind the day is the tale about the love between Zhi Nu, a weaver girl, and Niu Lang, a cowherd. Niu Lang was a kind hearted man and Zhi Nu was an angel in heaven who fell in love and got married to live happily ever after. Their love was not allowed and as a result they were banished to the opposite sides of the Silver River (Milky Way) and could only see each other once a year, on Qi Xi when a flock of magpies form a bridge to reunite them.
4. A day from history
Many scholars have found that the Double Seventh Festival – also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day – originated from the Han Dynasty from 207 BC to 220 AD.
5. Biggest star
The star Vega, which is known to represent the weaver girl, is actually the fifth largest star in the sky! The size of this star is 16 times larger than the sun, while its temperature is more than 10,000 degrees and its brightness is 25 times that of the sun.
6. The Daughter’s Festival
Chinese Valentine’s Day is also known as the Daughter’s Festival. It was on this day, long ago that Chinese girls would begin training themselves to be good at handcrafting, just like the Weaving Maid. During this night, unmarried girls would pray to the Weaving Maid star to make them smarter.
7. Preventing disaster
In many cities in China, people believe that decorating an ox’s horn with flowers on Valentine’s Day will prevent disaster from striking their family. On the night of Valentine’s Day, women will wash their hair to ensure they look and feel fresh while children wash their face in the morning with the water found in their back gardens to give them a natural beauty.
Meanwhile young girls will throw five-colour ropes, which were made during the Chinese Dragon Boat festival, on their roof for the magpies.
8. Sharing beauty
During the festival of Qi Xi, single and newlywed women make offerings to Niu Lan and Zhi Nu, which include fruit, tea, flowers and face powder. Once this has finished, half of the face powder is thrown on the roof of the home and the other half is divided among the young women. It’s believed that by doing this the women are bound in beauty to Zhi Nu.
Folklore says that you will cry on this day if there is crying in heaven, while others believe that you can hear the lovers talking if you stand under grapevines at night.
9. Inspiring others
The Qi Xi festival in China has become so loved and well known that it has gone onto inspire other festivals around the world including: Tanabata Festival in Japan, Chilseok Festival in Korea and That Tich Festival in Vietnam.
10. Varying traditions
Traditions during this festival tend to vary for young women across the country. In south west China, they will paint their toenails and wash their hair with tree sap to ensure they look as beautiful as possible and to attract a husband who will be satisfied with them.
Of course, you don’t need to wait until Valentine’s Day to surprise your loved one! Get them a gift at any time of year and show them just how much they mean to you.