Qixi Festival (Double Seventh Day)
The Qixi Festival is celebrated every 7th day of the 7th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival is known as Chinese Valentine's Day.
In the past days, girls are the major part of participants of this festival, and the main activity during the festival is asking for a light hand (乞巧 qi qiao).
Therefore this day is called Qi Qiao Festival or Girls Festival. It is the most romantic festival among Chinese traditional festivals. In 2021, the date of the Qixi Festival will be August 14th.
Origins of Qixi Festival Brief Introduction of Qixi Festival
Qixi Festival, which is originally known as Qiqiao Festival, originated from the Han Dynasty.
In the book of Xijing Za Ji written by Ge Hong, a famous doctor in Eastern Jin, there was the earliest description about Qiqiao Festival.
Story of Qixi Festival
In ancient China, a young cowherd called Niu lang was an orphan and lived with an old cow.
One day he came across a beautiful young lady, Zhinv, (织女, a weaver girl) the seventh daughter of Goddess, who was fed up with the boring heaven life and went to the earth for fun.
Soon the two youngsters fell in love with each other and got married without the Goddess’s approval.
The Zhinv proved to be a wonderful wife and Niu lang to be a very good husband. They lived happily and had 2 adorable sons.
However, the Goddess finally found out that her daughter, a fairy girl, had married a mortal. She exploded with rage and ordered the heaven troop to catch Zhinv back.
On earth, Niu lang was very sad but can do nothing. Suddenly his old cow began to talk and told him that if he kills it and puts on its hide, he might be able to go to heaven to find his wife.
With great sadness, Niu lang killed the cow and did as the cow told him with his two sons.
The Goddess knew it and was very annoyed. She took out her hairpin and scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming the Milky Way between Altair and Vega.
From then on, Zhinv could only sit on one side of the river and weaved sadly while Niu lang had to forever on the other side of the river and took care of their two children.
But the magpies all around the world take pity on them. Every July 7th, they would fly together to form a magpie bridge over the stars, providing a way for the two lovers to meet for a single night.
Customs of Qixi Festival
Asking for Good Embroidery Skills
On this day, girls will throw a sewing needle into a bowl full of water on the night of Qixi as a test of embroidery skills.
If the needle floats on top of the water instead of sinking, it proves the girl is a skilled embroiders.
Praying for Good luck on Marriage and Family
Single women also pray for finding a good husband in the future. And the newly married women pray to become pregnant quickly.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Western Countries
As time passed, more and more young Chinese people begin to celebrate this day as Chinese Valentine’s Day because of the romantic folklore. Youngsters celebrate it in a very similar way as that in western countries.
Top Destinations of Chinese Valentine’s Day
Hangzhou has long been known the world over for its many scenic sites. It has graceful land and seascapes, which gave the city a reputation as something of a paradise, even in ancient times.
Su Dongpo, the eminent writer during the Southern Song (CE 1127-1279) Dynasty, once wrote: "There are thirty-six lakes in the world claiming the title of West Lake; the best one is in Hangzhou".
Hangzhou's West Lake has been a focal point for wannabe Chinese poets for centuries.
Certain districts of Shanghai, which have variously been called the "Paris of the East" and the "Pearl of the Orient", have achieved world-class status in their respective spheres.
For example, the wharf area called the Bund became for a time mainland China's largest financial hub, corresponding to London's financial center (called simply the "City" in British business parlance).
The geographical site of the Bund corresponds to the former British Settlement in Shanghai, which was part of the afore-mentioned humiliating concessions forced upon China (and to think that such a negative event could lead to the happy ending that the Bund has become!).
Zhouzhuang Water Town
Zhouzhuang, a "water town" (canal town) like the neighboring water town of Tongli, lies between Lake Tai and Shanghai, about 55 kilometers southeast of Suzhou on the southern shore of Lake Baixian, through which the Baixian River runs.
Xitang Water Town
Xitang, one of the six ancient towns south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River is in Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province.
Jiashan is in the middle of Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou (within 100km from each). The roads in Jiashan County are good with modern fast highways; National Highway 320 and Huhang Expressway run across the county.
Wuzhen Water Town
Wuzhen Water Town is located in Tongxiang of Zhejiang Province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Hangzhou, and 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Shanghai.
The world-famous Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal runs through the town, which endows Wuzhen Water Town with rivers and canals crisscrossing the whole area.
With a history of more than 7000 years, Wuzhen Water Town gathers all the unique features of Jiangnan (downstream area of Yangtze River) water towns.
Tongli Water Town
The city of Tong li (or Tongli as it is generally written) in Jiangsu Province, is situated between Lake Tai and Shanghai.
More specifically, it is located about 10 kilometers west-northwest of the slightly larger city of Zhouzhuang and 180 kilometers south of the considerably larger city, Suzhou.