In honor of Valentine's day tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to talk about the Qixi or Qiqiao Festival, sometimes also called the Double Seventh Festival.
The Qixi Festival, often referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day, falls on Tuesday August 25th this year. Like the Chinese or Lunar New Year, the date varies in accordance with the Lunar Calendar, celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th Lunar Moon. The festival commemorates the romantic ancient story of the cowherd and weaver girl meeting annually to express their love. The Festival first began over 2000 years ago during the Han Dynasty.
The Legend: "An oxherd Niúláng with the help of his ox (the demoted cattle god) married a fairy, Zhínǚ, who became a weaver girl. Zhínǚ's mother, a goddess, returned Zhínǚ to heaven. Niúláng pursued using the ox's hide. The goddess separated them by a river of stars (the Milky Way), but magpies were allowed to form a bridge for them to meet once a year (Qixi)."(Reference: Chinahighlights.com) Here's a great video for the kids to watch to learn more on the basic concept of the Qixi Festival.
The Qixi Festival is celebrated in many of the same ways as Valentine's Day here in the United States. Flowers, chocolates, love songs and other gifts are given along with spending time with each other, dinner or movie date nights. Many Chinese people also celebrate the Western Valentine's Day also! When I was in Shanghai last year, I stumbled upon the most fantastic flower shop called BEAST Flowers. The store was something out of a fairytale and the quality of the flowers and other product offering was remarkable. I couldn't help myself. ;)
Okay so I added some linked to some of the things I talked about. A link up top to learn more about the Lunar Calendar, a you tube video for you and the kiddos to learn more about the story behind Qixi Festival. The "love song" is actually Jon Bon Jovi singing in Chinese! Your kids may be able to pick out or recognize some of the common Chinese words from the song. Also, a link to the BEAST flower shop's website (Note: this is all in Chinese but the graphics are fun and it's fun to poke around).
How will YOU celebrate this Valentine's Day? Leave me your favorite things to do in the comments!