After learning about the Qixi festival, and its various folk customs, (also known as Chinese Valentine's Day) we celebrated the festival by making the common treat, Qiao Guo (Thin Fried Pastes), and finding the stars for the mythical characters of the weaver maid and the cowheard. We also tried two of the customs: the traditional, folk custom of threading a needle to honor the weaver maid, and the modern custom of setting out a lantern into the water with a wish hoping to be granted by the weaver maid.
Though the tradition to thread needles is by moonlight, and with special seven hole needles, we used our regular needle, and with the girls' fear of spearing themselves, we did it by regular light. I clearly gave them a needle with too large a hole because they threaded their needles nearly instantly. For some reason I thought it would be a challenge - it turned out to be a quick honoring :)
For our lanterns, we followed the tutorial at Filth Wizardry for the origami paper boats, using a regular sheet of paper. We wrote our wishes on the bottom of the boats, took a tea light and set them out on our pond. Though the wishes in China during the Qixi festival are for love, marriage, and children - the girls made wishes that pertained more to their hopes.
It was rather lovely, watching the glow of our lanterns at night. And maybe the weaver maid will pull some strings (pun intended), and our wishes will come true.
You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups: