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Double Seventh Festival (4)

☆The festival

On Chinese Valentine's Day, couples go to matchmaker temples to pray for everlasting love and marriage. Even single people will frequent the temple for luck in love.

Chinese Valentine's Day is also called "The Daughter's Festival". Long ago, Chinese girls aspired to becoming skilled craftswomen like the Weaving Maid. This skill was considered essential to their future as wives and mothers. On that night, unmarried girls prayed to the Weaving Maid star for the special gift. When the star Vega was high up in the sky, girls performed a small test by placing a needle on the water's surface: If the needle did not sink, the girl was considered to be ready to find a husband. Once a year, on this day, girls could wish for anything their hearts desired.

In some Chinese provinces, people believe that decorating an ox's horns with flowers on Chinese Valentine's Day will ward off disaster. On the night of Valentine's Day, women wash their hair to give it a fresh and shiny look; children wash their faces the next morning using the overnight water in their backyards for a more naturally beautiful appearance; and girls throw five-colored ropes made during the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival on the roofs so magpies can use them to build the bridge.

A couple in Chinese traditional dresses, an Australian young man of Chinese descent and a American teacher, sit on the bed during a event marking the Chinese Valentine's Day, which falls on July 7 according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar or August 11 in 2005 in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province August 10, 2005.

A girl displays a doll in a shop in Jinan, capital of Shandong province.

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