Introduction

The Qixi Festival, also known as the Double Seventh Festival or Chinese Valentine’s Day, is a time-honoured tradition in China that has mesmerized hearts for over 2,000 years. Set on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar, which usually graces the month of August, this enchanting celebration commemorates a poignant tale of love between a celestial cowherd, Niulang, and a heavenly weaver girl, Zhinü. The festival captivates the imagination with its rich traditions, ancient legends, and the unwavering spirit of love that endures through time and space.

The Celestial Love of Niulang and Zhinü

Amidst the celestial realm, where gods and goddesses reside, Niulang and Zhinü found each other and fell irrevocably in love. Niulang, a humble cowherd on Earth, caught sight of the beautiful weaver girl, Zhinü, perched gracefully in a tree. Daughter of the illustrious Jade Emperor, Zhinü had been banished to the mortal world for defying her father’s wishes.

In their love, Niulang and Zhinü transcended the barriers that separated mortals from immortals, but their happiness was short-lived. Learning of their forbidden union, the Jade Emperor unleashed his wrath, decreeing that Niulang be exiled back to Earth, and Zhinü to her heavenly abode.

The Milky Way Bridge of Love

Separated by the vast expanse of the Milky Way, the two lovers’ hearts yearned for each other’s touch. Yet, destiny allowed them a single day each year to reunite, a divine intervention made possible by the empathetic magpies. On the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, these celestial birds would form a bridge across the starry river, allowing Niulang and Zhinü to unite in the realm of love.

Traditions and Customs

Throughout the centuries, the Chinese have celebrated this auspicious day with fervour and passion, honouring the enduring love of Zhinü and Niulang. Various customs and practices have evolved, making Chinese Valentine’s Day a cherished occasion for lovers and singles alike.

Magpie Bridge: On this special day, young maidens gather to pray for love and marriage, offering fruits and flowers to Zhinü. They also pay homage to the magpies, believed to be bridging the gap between the lovers on the opposite sides of the Milky Way.

Qixi Festival: Chinese Valentine’s Day is also referred to as the Qixi Festival. “Qi” means “seven” in Chinese, and “xi” means “evening,” denoting the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. The festival is now considered a time for lovers to express their feelings and exchange gifts.

A Celebration of Love and the Human Spirit

The Qixi Festival is a day of rejoicing, a tribute to the extraordinary love that defied the heavens. It embodies the enduring power of love and the strength of the human spirit to surmount even the most insurmountable odds. As the world celebrates this celestial love story, hearts across the nation are moved by its beauty and poignancy.

Embracing Tradition, Embracing Love

The celebration of the Qixi Festival is steeped in deep-rooted traditions, each expressing love and devotion in its unique way.

Among the customs cherished by the people are:

  1. Gift-giving: Flower bouquets, exquisite jewellery, and heartfelt Qixi couplets are exchanged as tokens of affection, symbolizing the depth of love shared between lovers.
  2. Savouring Culinary Delights: The festival table is adorned with delectable Qixi cakes, sweet tangyuan, and nourishing lotus seeds, enjoyed as a way to savour the sweet flavours of love.
  3. Romantic Rendezvous: Young couples often take the opportunity to escape on romantic outings, they  embark on enchanting dates, basking in each other’s presence under the moonlit sky, indulging in laughter and love such as picnics under the stars or strolls along moonlit paths
  4. Prayers at Sacred Places: Temples and shrines become beacons of hope as people flock to offer prayers for love, happiness, and a future filled with romance.
  5. Hanging Qixi Couplets: Emotive poems, etched on scarlet paper, are lovingly hung on doors and windows, a manifestation of desires and dreams entwined in love.

Modern Celebrations

While the essence of the legend remains, modern Chinese Valentine’s Day has incorporated new customs and practices, reflecting the evolving nature of love and romance in contemporary society.

Digital Love Notes: In the age of technology, love is expressed through digital means. Couples send heartfelt messages, animated gifs, and virtual flowers through social media platforms, bridging the distance between hearts with a click of a button.

Personalized Gifts: The tradition of gift-giving endures, with a modern twist. Couples exchange personalized presents, reflecting the unique interests and preferences of their partners. Customized bouquet of flowers, jewellery, engraved items, and handcrafted tokens of love carry special significance.

Romantic Getaways: In recent years, couples have embraced the idea of traveling to romantic destinations for Chinese Valentine’s Day. Secluded resorts, breathtaking landscapes, and luxurious accommodations set the stage for unforgettable romantic experiences.

The Universal Message of Love

Chinese Valentine’s Day transcends cultural boundaries and carries a universal message of love, sacrifice, and devotion. It reminds us that love knows no limitations, that it can bridge even the widest of divides, and that its flame burns eternal, regardless of time or distance.

A Timeless Tradition in an Evolving World

As the Qixi Festival continues to weave its magic, the celebration has embraced change in the modern world. Once reserved for young couples, it now unites people of all ages in celebration of love’s enduring spirit. Beyond the boundaries of China, the festival’s appeal has crossed borders, with Qixi Festival celebrations witnessed across the globe, a testament to its universal allure.

Conclusion

As the sun sets on Chinese Valentine’s Day, the tale of the Weaver Girl and the Cowherd lives on, inspiring hearts and igniting passions. From ancient legends to modern celebrations, this enchanting festival of love captivates the imagination and reminds us all of the enduring power of true love. May the magpie bridge continue to unite lovers, and may the spirit of Chinese Valentine’s Day infuse every day with the magic of love.

This year’s Chinese Valentine’s day falls on 22 August 2023, and at 24Hrs City Florist located near you for you to pick a bouquet of flowers. We are conveniently located at Exit of Farrer Park MRT (on purple line) at Singapore city fringe.

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