Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny    29 / 17 ℃  City Forecast

English>>Life & Culture

Timeless love

By Yin Yin (China Daily)

14:16, August 21, 2012

(Chinese youth dress up as Niulang and Zhinu to celebrate the Qixi Festival. Liu Junfeng / For China Daily)

Chinese 'Valentine's Day' experiences revival among the young

American Sean Naismith intends to propose to his girlfriend on Aug 23. "My girlfriend is Chinese and I wanted to do it on that special day, which is also a traditional festival known as Qixi or Chinese Valentine's Day," the 28-year-old Naismith says.

Naismith is just one of an increasing number of foreigners and younger Chinese who are turning or returning to the festival to show their love for their partners.

The Chinese Qixi Festival, or the Seventh Night Festival, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. This year, it is on Thursday, Aug 23.

His girlfriend told him the festival is based on a tragic love tale: a Chinese couple, Niulang (cowherd) and Zhinu (fairy weaver girl), who were separated by Wangmu (the supreme goddess of heaven) after she became angry that a fairy had married a mortal. The lovers could only meet once a year on a bridge formed by magpies that took pity on the two.

Most Chinese will remember the tale as children. If it rains heavily on the evening of Qixi, some elderly Chinese will say it is Zhinu crying on that day as she met her husband Niulang on the Milky Way.

The festival can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Historical records from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD 317-420) also mention the festival, while records from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) describe a grand evening banquet linked to the event.

By the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties, there were numerous references to Qixi in literary circles.

While the tale of Niulang and Zhinu is a story of timeless love, the fairy was also known to be intelligent and a skilled seamstress. As such, the festival goes by the name Qiqiao Festival, which alludes to the skills of the fairy seamstress.

The day is often characterized by girls praying for intelligence and talent.

Chen Jianguo, a scholar of the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Society, does not think Qixi should be solely considered a Chinese Valentine's Day and linked to the commercialism that infects increasingly popular imported festivals, such as the Western Valentine's Day that call more for chocolates, roses and candlelit dinners than Chinese customs.

"Niulang and Zhinu are a married couple and had children," Chen says. "The Qixi Festival conveys the loyal love between married couples who want to live to a ripe old age in conjugal bliss. It's totally different from the love of the unmarried."

【1】 【2】

News we recommend




Top four vegetables that help lose weight in autumn

Seven foods that enrich your blood

Sweet drinks may cause seven diseases

Three "poisons" that destroy men's health

Five 'super' foods you cannot miss in summer

Top 18 cancer fighting fruits and vegetables


Leave your comment0 comments

  1. Name


Selections for you

  1. Officers and men in live-ammunition tactical drill

  2. Heat wave hits Berlin, Germany

  3. Taxing times for China's tax reformers

  4. Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street in Guangzhou

  5. sexy bikini - on the beach

  6. How to marry a billionaire

Most Popular


  1. U.S.-S. Korea drills harmful to regional stability
  2. Experts divided on yuan's future
  3. Wake-up call for industry
  4. Is Romney trounced, or has more tricks?
  5. Commentary: Meet the new consumers
  6. Medicare row escalates with Romney's VP pick
  7. New UN envoy's appointment last ditch for Syria
  8. Stock markets remain a depressing drag
  9. ASEAN, China should maintain regional stability
  10. Be wary of West powers' attempt on Syria

What's happening in China

Lhasa ranks at top of residents' happiness list

  1. Officers and men in live-ammunition tactical drill
  2. Many workers face extended probation period
  3. Free Qixi Festival events canceled
  4. Three Gorges Dam sees new round of flooding
  5. Amusement parks boost real estate market

China Features

  1. Japan stuck in neighbors' anger
  2. Is China's low-cost era approaching its end?
  3. Chinese firms provided one-stop services in U.S.
  4. Don't store bread and biscuits together
  5. Eat ducks during Chushu (Stopping the heat)

PD Online Data

  1. Spring Festival
  2. Chinese ethnic odyssey
  3. Yangge in Shaanxi
  4. Gaoqiao in Northern China
  5. The drum dance in Ansai