DIY Love

09:03, August 12, 2010      

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By Chen Dujuan

While Westerners always celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th, the Chineseequivalent - Qixi ("The Night of Sevens") is a movable feast, occurring on the seventh day of seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar - and this year, that's August 16.

"During the Han Dynasty and beyond, young girls would demonstrate domestic crafts such as needlework [or fruit-carving] for their relatives. So girls who'd normally have to be at home would go out; men could then meet their beloveds face to face," Beijing Folklore Society councilman Wang Mingzhen told Lifestyle.

Unlike the Lantern or Mid-autumn Festivals, there are no specific gifts for Qixi, according to Wang, but men can give things that girls "need": he suggests hair clips. Hair has some symbolism during this festival, as washing and brushing on this day was a traditional act of beautifying; therefore, combs and mirrors also make old-fashioned gifts. This year, we're suggesting a thoughtful kind of gift that combines a particular modern and traditional ethos: that's right, it's do-it-yourself kits (DIY)!

A Qixiin the tale

There's a beautiful and famous legend behind Qixithat recounts the tale of the seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven, a weaver named Zhi N who fell in love with Niu Lang, a cowherd. After spending all their time together instead of weaving and herding, the Jade Emperor was angered at their dereliction of duty and separated the couple with a Silver River (or "Milky Way"). Once a year – on Qixi – birds (commonly magpies) take pity on them and form a bridge so the two could meet for just one night. You may recall this touching tale from the shadow puppet scene in the recent Karate Kid remake.

Source: Global Times

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