Why do some people call it 'the Chinese Valentine’s Day'? PDF Print E-mail

 

Lantern23During the long feudal period in China, women were not allowed to go out freely except in a few important occasions.  Big events offered single women an opportunity to get to know some potential partners, or date their beloveds – otherwise they could only marry those appointed by their parents.  Amongst those occasions, the Lantern Festival stands out as the Chinese Valentine’s Day for some possible reasons:

 

Firstly, riddle-guessing was a window on one’s intelligence; girls could easily judge a man’s knowledge and talent according to his performance in this activity.

 

Secondly, lovers tended to date during the Lantern Festival.  As a proof, many traditional poems and operas describe romantic stories happened in this day rather than in any other festival.

 

Finally, southern people believed that a single girl would be able to marry a satisfactory husband if she could successfully steal some spring onions or broad-leaved vegetables from the field in the night of the Lantern Festival.

 

According to some people, however, 'the Chinese Valentine’s Day' falls on Qixi Festival that embraces the romantic story about the Weaver-girl and the Cowherd.

 

The story of the Weaver-girl and the Cowherd: Once upon a time, there was a poor orphan who only had an old ox as his property and companion; therefore he was called the Cowherd.  Under the help of the magical ox, he managed to marry the 7th Fairy, a weaver-girl in Heaven, when she sneaked out to visit the Earth.  Unfortunately, the Head of Godesses discovered this inappropriate marriage, and forced the Weaver-girl back to Heaven.  The Cowherd instantly chased his wife, and he almost caught her!  At that very moment, the Head of Godesses pulled out her hairpin, and brandished it in the sky.  A surging river, the Milky Way, suddenly appeared, separating the couple.  However, countless magpies heard their weeping, and were deeply touched by their love and fate.  They hence flew high to form a bridge with their bodies above the Milky Way, so that the couple could cross the bridge to reach each other.  The Head of Godesses had no alternative but to allow the couple to meet on the magpie bridge once a year on the 7th day of the 7th Chinese lunar month.  This legend has given rise to the Qixi Festival that has been celebrated since the Han Dynasties (202BC–220AD).

 

[For more interesting details of the Weaver-girl and the Cowherd’s story, click here.  You may also enjoy the animation Legend of the Seventh Eve Festival for the love story of the Weaver-girl and the Cowherd.]