Qixi Fes­ti­val

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 7 Life -

Peo­ple pay trib­ute to ce­les­tial phe­nom­ena to mark the fes­ti­val. Al­tair, or the star of Niu Lang (cow­boy), and Vega, or the star of Zhi Nv (fe­male weaver), are the clos­est to each other on July 7 on the lu­nar cal­en­dar. Peo­ple be­lieve this to be a once-a-year date for the two lovers, so they call the fes­ti­val Chi­nese Valen­tines’ Day, which is also ob­served in some parts of East and South­east Asia.

The ear­li­est record of the fes­ti­val goes back to the Han Dy­nasty (202 BC-220). In an­cient times, Chi­nese peo­ple be­lieved Jan 1, Feb 2, March 3, May 5, June 6, July 7 and Sept 9 on the lu­nar cal­en­dar to be aus­pi­cious days, the days when Earth (mean­ing peo­ple) and Heaven com­mu­ni­cate with each other. Peo­ple also be­lieved the sun and the moon, along with Venus, Jupiter, Mer­cury, Mars and Saturn were the “seven lu­mi­nar­ies”. As a re­sult, seven be­came a magic and aus­pi­cious num­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine the­ory, a man’s life is mea­sured in eight-year cy­cles and a woman’s in seven-year cy­cles. A lot of phys­i­cal changes take place in men and women ev­ery eight and ev­ery seven years, re­spec­tively.

So, many closely re­late Qixi Fes­ti­val, or dou­ble seven day (July 7 on the lu­nar cal­en­dar), with women. The most im­por­tant cus­tom as­so­ci­ated with the day is qiqiao, or beg­ging a de­ity for dex­ter­ity and hap­pi­ness. Young women of­fer fresh fruits as obla­tions to the moon, ask­ing Zhi Nv to bless them with a happy life, ideal lover and a pair of skill­ful hands.

The fes­ti­val was also called Qiqiao Fes­ti­val in an­cient times, and is prob­a­bly the only fes­ti­val specif­i­cally for women.

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