About Qixi Festival
In China, the double-seventh festival is observed in a similar fashion to Valentine’s Day — it is even dubbed China’s Valentine’s Day. However the Qixi Festival dates back more than 2,000 years ago, to the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). And it has its roots in ancient Chinese mythology.
The Qixi Festival commemorates the love of the Cowherd and Weaver Girl.
According to Chinese myth, seven goddesses who lived in heaven secretly ventured to the mortal world one night to do some exploring. The seven sisters were bathing together in a lake when a nearby Cowherd spotted one of the goddesses, a skilled weaver who wove colourful clouds in heaven. It was love at first sight for the two, and she stayed behind in the mortal world, marrying the Cowherd and bearing two children.
But for a goddess to marry a mortal man was blasphemy, and when the Goddess of Heaven discovered the transgression, she was enraged and ordered Weaver Girl to return to Heaven and resume her weaving duties. Weaver Girl had no choice but to obey and leave, heartbroken.
The Cowherd was devastated and could not imagine a life without his beloved. One day, seeing his pain, the Cowherd’s ox began to speak, telling him that if he killed him and wore his hide, he could fly up to heaven and see Weaver Girl again. The ox’s sacrifice reunited the two, but the Goddess of Heaven would not stand for it. She furiously created a river of stars in the sky, separating the lovers for eternity. A flock of magpies, moved by the purity of the couple’s devotion, joined together to form a bridge between the two.
Even the Goddess of Heaven was touched, and she agreed to allow the Cowherd and their children to remain in heaven, to be reunited with Weaver Girl only once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.