According to ancient Chinese mythology the Cowherd and the Weaver Maid, lovers separated by the Queen Mother of the Western Heavens, can only meet tonight.
And thanks to the myth's touching story many Chinese now regard "Qixi" the evening of July 7 in the Chinese lunar calendar as the Chinese Valentine's Day.
"The Qixi festival expresses the traditional values of love in China that lovers should live to a ripe age together and be faithful to each other no matter what difficulties they encounter," said Feng Jicai, chairman of the Chinese Folk Literature & Arts Society.
Although both the Qixi festival and the Western Valentine's Day are dedicated to love, Feng said he hopes some new content besides roses and chocolates will become part of the traditional Chinese festival.
Yesterday, experts from the Chinese Folk Literature & Arts Society, the China Federation of literary and Art Circles and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences gathered in Xingtai in North China's Hebei Province for a declaration on protecting the individuality of Qixi culture.
In Nanjing in East China's Jiangsu Province, a total of 770,000 coloured paper birds decorated the castle of the Zhonghua Gate yesterday, wishing the city good luck in love.
And nearly 40 young people in traditional Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220) costumes, gathered in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province yesterday to celebrate the festival.
Three couples made a "Magpie Bridge" to help the Cowherd and Weaving Maid cross the Milkyway and be reunited. In the ancient story, magpies spread their wings to form a bridge across the Milkyway on July 7, enabling the couple to meet at night in heaven.
According to the Chinese lunar calendar, there will be two Qixi festivals this year. So the Cowherd and Weaving Maid can meet again, when the next festival falls on August 31.
Source: China Daily