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Celebrate Qixi Festival with your loved ones

By Kong Qi (People's Daily Online)    16:44, August 07, 2019

The Double Seventh Festival, or Qixi Festival, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Double Seven Festival is considered to be the most romantic of traditional Chinese festivals, earning it the title of "Chinese Valentine's Day."


This romantic festival has a long history and has been celebrated since the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). It was added to the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List by the State Council of China in 2006. 

The romantic legend of Niulang (the cowherd) and Zhinyu (the weaver girl) is deeply rooted in Chinese culture as well as the hearts of Chinese people.


The legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl

Once upon a time, there was a poor but kind-hearted cowherd named Niulang, and his most valuable possession was an old cow. What Niulang didn’t know is that the cow used to be the god of cattle, but was then downgraded for his violation of the law of heaven. Niulang had always been kind to the cow. In order to express its gratitude, the cow let Niulang meet Zhinyu, the seventh daughter of the Jade Emperor and Mother Queen of the Heaven, who was tired of life in heaven and escaped to earth.


The two soon fell in love and got married. Their life was plain but full of joy, with Niulang working in the field while Zhinyu stayed at home weaving. A few years passed, they had two babies, and life was even happier.

However, upon learning her daughter married a mortal, Zhinyu’s mother, the Mother Queen of Heaven, was furious and sent celestial soldiers to bring Zhinyu back. Niulang was desperate when Zhinyu was taken back to heaven, as it meant he would never be able to see her again.

Under the circumstances, the cow asked Niulang to kill it, and put on its skin, so he would be able to go up to heaven and meet his wife. With bitterness, he killed the cow, put on its skin, and carried his two kids to find Zhinyu.

Unfortunately, just before he caught up with Zhinyu, the Mother Queen of Heaven took out her hairpin and created a river between them. This river came to be the Milky Way. 


The magpies were greatly moved by their love and flew up to form a bridge over the river to help the couple. The Goddess of Heaven finally allowed them to meet each other on the magpie bridge on that day each year.

If it rains on Qixi Festival, legend has it that it is because heaven is moved by the love between Niulang and Zhinyu.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Shi Xi, Du Mingming)

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