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Chinese Valentine's Day Comes(情系七夕)
[ 2006-07-31 09:56 ]

Chinese Valentine's Day (or "Qi Qiao Jie ") falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (August according to the Gregorian calendar). As is the custom elsewhere in the world, this is a day devoted to romance.

In China, this day is also known as "The Begging Festival" or "The Daughter's Festival." It is an important day for girls. In the evening, girls prepare melons and fruit before worship and prayers for a good marriage.

There are many stories as to the origins of Chinese Valentine's Day, and one of them involves the Emperor of Heaven and his seven daughters.

  The love story

The seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and an orphaned cowherd were separated by the Emperor; the girl was forced to move to the star Vega (织女星,天琴座中的最亮的那颗星)and the cowherd, to the star Altair(牛郎星, 牵牛星). They were only allowed to meet once a year on the day of seventh day of seventh lunar month - Chinese Valentine's Day.

The story begins with the handsome but poor orphan who lived with his elder brother and sister-in-law. After his parents passed away, the boy's brother inherited the house and land. But all he had was an old ox. As a cowherd, the boy had to work the farm fields with his ox everyday. His daily life routine resembled the story of Cinderella (《灰姑娘》).

The seventh daughter of the Emperor, also known as the Weaving Maid, was good at handcrafting, especially weaving clothes. The Emperor particularly appreciated her skills of weaving clouds with rainbows to make the world more beautiful.

The cowherd's ox, which was actually an immortal from heaven, made mistakes in heaven and was reincarnated as an ox to toil on earth. One day, the ox suddenly said to the cowherd: "You are a nice person. If you want to get married, go to the brook and your wish will come true."
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