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Qixi Festival 七夕节 – Chinese Festivals

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Overview

Chinese Name: 七夕节

English Name: Qixi Festival, the Chinese Valentine’s Day

Time & Duration: The seventh day of the seventh lunar month

Customs: Rendezvous at the Bridge (Chinese: 桥间相会), Worshiping Qijie  (Chinese: 拜七姐), Storage Qixi water (Chinese: 储七夕水), Dyeing nails (Chinese: 染手指甲), etc.

Qixi Festival 七夕节
Qixi Festival 七夕节

Brief introduction

The Qixi Festival 七夕节 is derived from the worship of the stars and is the birthday of the Qijie 七姐 (A protector of lovers, women and children) in the traditional sense. Because the worship of the “Qijie” is held on the seventh night of July, it is named “Qixi”. It is a traditional custom of Qixi Festival to worship Qijie, pray for blessings, beg for skilful arts, sit and watch Altair Vega, pray for marriage, and store Qixi water.

Through historical development, Qixi Festival has been endowed with the beautiful love legend of “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl”, making it a festival that symbolizes love and is considered to be the most romantic traditional festival in China. In contemporary times, the cultural meaning of “Chinese Valentine’s Day” has emerged.

Qixi 七夕

Qixi Festival is not only a festival to worship Qijie, but also a festival of love. It is a comprehensive festival with the folklore of “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” as the carrier, with the theme of blessing, begging, and love, and with women as the main body.

The origin of the Qixi Festival

When it comes to the Qixi Festival, people can’t avoid the beautiful legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl 牛郎织女, which is a famous Chinese folk love story of the Han nationality in ancient China. Legend has it that the Weaver Girl, the granddaughter of the ancient emperor of heaven, was good at weaving, and weaved colourful clouds to the sky every day.

She hated this boring life, so she secretly went down to the mortal world, married a cowherd privately, and lived a life of men farming and women weaving. The Emperor of Heaven was furious and used the heavenly river to separate them. Their unwavering love touched the magpies, and countless magpies flew over and built a magpie bridge across the heavenly river with their bodies, allowing the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl to meet on the heavenly river.

The Cowherd and Weaver Girl originated from people’s worship of natural astronomical phenomena, and later developed into the Qixi Festival. During festivals, ancient women would make wishes to Vega and Altair in the sky, hoping that they would have a wise mind, dexterous hands and a good marriage.

Folk-Custom Activity

Rendezvous at the Bridge 桥间相会

The meeting between the bridges on the Qixi Festival comes from the love legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl in Chinese folklore. On the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl meet on the Magpie Bridge. Every Qixi Festival, Jiaxing 嘉兴, Zhejiang will become very lively.

Rendezvous at the Bridge 桥间相会
Rendezvous at the Bridge 桥间相会

At night, people offer sacrifices to the twin stars, beg for auspiciousness, and then burn the incense bridge, symbolizing that the twin stars have crossed the incense bridge and met happily. This kind of Bridge is derived from the legendary Magpie Bridge.

Worshipping Qijie 拜七姐

Qijie is a cloud weaving, textile industry, and a protector of lovers, women and children. In this evening, the girls face the bright moon in the sky, put seasonal melons and fruits, and worship in the sky, begging the goddess in the sky to give them wise hearts and dexterous hands. Make them knitting female red skills skilled, and beg for the marriage of love and marriage.

Worshiping Qijie 拜七姐
Worshipping Qijie 拜七姐

Storage Qixi water 储七夕水

It is said that “Qixi water” has magical functions, which can be stored for a long time and can treat scalds, remove sores, etc. Guangdong and Guangxi have the custom of storing “Qixi water”, that is, after the first roosters croak on the seventh morning of the first lunar month, each family goes to the well or the river to draw water for storage.

the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl 牛郎织女

According to folklore, on the morning of July 7th, fairies go down to earth to take a bath, and use their bathwater to ward off evil spirits, cure diseases and prolong life. Therefore, people go to the riverside to fetch water on the morning of Qixi Festival, and collect it for later use.

Dyeing nails 染手指甲

Dyeing your nails is a traditional Chinese Valentine’s Day custom in southwest China. Young girls in many areas like to wash their hair with tree sap mixed with water during festivals. Not only can they be young and beautiful, but also for unmarried women, they can find a good man as soon as possible.

Dyeing nails 染手指甲
Dyeing nails 染手指甲

Dyeing nails with flowers and plants is also a hobby of most women and children in festival entertainment, and it is also closely related to fertility beliefs

Qixi Festival Festival (七夕节)

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