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Qixi - What it is

(China Daily)

14:40, August 21, 2012

The seventh day of the seventh lunar moon has always been associated with the more feminine aspects of life. In the southern and southeastern provinces of China, such as Guangdong and Fujian, Qixi, as the day is known, also celebrates the coming of age of the girls of the family.

On this day, the young lady will be dressed in traditional clothes, all new, and given a comb, a sewing kit and in the olden days, her own loom.

A little ceremony is also held where the female members of the family gather to celebrate with tea and snacks, and make a fuss of the young woman.

This probably harks back to the legend of the immortal Weaver Maiden and her human Cowherd husband. She was the youngest of the Jade Emperor's seven daughters and was well-known for her weaving skills. (The Western equivalent to that astronomy would be the Pleiades.)

In various versions of that myth, the Weaver Maiden fell in love with the Cowherd and stayed on earth, making a living with the cloth she wove so well.

That is, until an infuriated father sent the heavenly hordes to take her back to the celestial realm. The heart-broken Cowherd followed but was banished to the other side of the Milky Way.

Their love was so touching that the magpies, those celebrants of love and happy news, decided to gather and form a bridge every year so the lovers could meet - for a day.

That day became known as Qixi, or the Seventh Evening.
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