This is a romantic festival, and over the last decade or two, with the increase in westernization, it has been compared to valentine's day, and can be known as the Chinese Valentine's day.
The legend behind the festival tells of the love between a cowherd (Niulang) and a weaving maid (Zhi Nu), who meet once a year at the magpie bridge.
|Cowherd and Weaver Maid|
Photo Credit: Marjie Kennedy
These days, during the Qixi festival, girls send lanterns into water or in the air with a wish for love, marriage or a child. It is also a very popular date to register for an official marriage license.
|Photo Credit: Joanne Wan|
In some areas of China, girls still demonstrate melon carving or participate in melon carving competitions, as well as demonstrating their embroidery skills. .
Photo Credit: Marylyn Jeans
- Setting up an incense altar to the weaving maiden, with offerings of fruit, flowers, tea, makeup, embroidery.
- Pleading for skills by threading a needle (some needles have 7 holes!) in the moonlight to be granted a wish by the weaver maiden.
- Doing an ingenuity test by floating a needle: throwing a needle into a bowl of water, and if it floats, then it is a declaration that the girl will receive needle craft skills.
- Catching dew with a basin. It is said that dew are the tears of the couple, and will make one dexterous if rubbed in eyes and hands.
- Putting a spider in a box to see if there is a cobweb the next day. The one with the most round cobweb wins.
- Serving dumplings with 3 special ones: one with copper coin (for blessings), one with needle (for deft hands), and one with a red date (for early marriage) ** Placing a needle in food seems awfully dangerous, though, doesn't it?
And commonly eaten foods are dumplings, noodles, wontons, and Qiao guo (fried thin paste).
The Qixi festival was yesterday, August 13 (this year), but with Elle away and only returning tonight, we will be celebrating it tomorrow.