Valentine’s Day in August? You bet! If you have missed out on February’s Valentine's Day, now is your chance. Read on to learn more about the most romantic of all traditional Chinese festivals: the Qi Xi Festival.
A Tale Of Star-Crossed Lovers
Before we delve deeper into this love-filled festival, let us turn back in time - specifically 2000 years back to ancient China.
It all started when two star-crossed lovers met for the first time - Zhinü, a weaver and the daughter of a mighty deity, and Niulang, a lowly cowherd. It was love at first sight for the young couple. They later wed and had two beautiful children of their own; a son and a daughter. The two were inseparable - or so they thought.
When Zhinü's mother learns about the marriage, she couldn’t accept it. How can a celestial marry a mere mortal let alone bear his children?
Furious, she then takes her daughter back to Heaven and creates a vast river that divides both Earth and Heaven, which we now refer to as the Milky Way, separating the young couple for eternity.
Legend has it that the heartbroken cries of Zhinü and Niulang inspired the magpies that lived on Earth to fly to Heaven and build a bridge over the river so the two lovers could reunite.
Their undying love moved Zhinü’s mother, so much so that she permitted them to meet once a year, on that same day: the seventh day of the seventh lunar month – or better known as the Qi Xi Festival.
Why Do The Chinese Celebrate The Qi Xi Festival?
The love story between Zhinü and Niulang has inspired Chinese couples for years and even gained numerous alterations to the original narrative. Today, people often relate Zhinü and Niulang's love story to long-distance relationships.
The Qi Xi Festival is also called the Double Seventh Festival or Chinese Valentine's Day. As mentioned above, it takes place every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. And as for this year (2022), the Qi Xi Festival falls on August 4th.
A festival rich in history and heritage, the Qi Xi Festival or Chinese Valentine’s Day is an excellent opportunity to rediscover one's cultural roots and a great excuse to go on romantic dates and exchange gifts.
Qi Xi Festival Traditions
Dress to impress
During the Qi Xi Festival, women would dress in traditional Chinese clothing called the Hanfu - a long robe with loose sleeves and a belt at the waist.
Showing off skills
Another famous tradition during the Qi Xi Festival is where women had to show off their skills through their needlework under the moonlight. Other activities include carving flowers and animals (usually birds) on melons or other fruits.
Worshipping the celestial couple
Single women would pray to the deities to grant them a loving spouse, whereas newly-married women would pray for a healthy baby. This Qi Xi tradition involves offerings of tea, wine, fruits, flowers, and even melon seeds.
Food customs vary regionally, but the Qiaoguo is a popular dish eaten during the Qi Xi Festival. A fried thin pastry made using oil, flour, sugar, and honey. They’re then moulded into different shapes and decorated with intricate patterns and figures. People believe that eating Qiaoguo can help reunite the celestial couple.
Since the Han Dynasty, many of the traditional customs are gradually disappearing. Regardless, the Qi Xi Festival is still celebrated today but with modern interpretations. Instead of practising traditional customs, romantic partners celebrate Chinese Valentine's Day by giving each other many kinds of gifts like chocolates, flowers and more.
However, we believe expressing love and affection shouldn’t be tied to specific dates. With our timeless and heartfelt floral arrangements, you can show and tell how much you adore someone all year round!
It’s now or never – profess your most romantic feelings today. Check out our Qixi Collection to find the perfect gift for your loved ones and make it the most memorable Qixi Festival ever.
Feel free to contact us for gift ideas or if you want a custom arrangement to suit your tastes. You can even slide into our inbox on social media. Our team is always ready to help you.