Hong Kong

Love is in the air dur­ing an an­nual fes­ti­val cel­e­brated to­mor­row.

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

A Romeo and Juliet-style leg­end lies be­hind the an­nual Seven Sis­ters Fes­ti­val.

On the seventh day of the seventh lu­nar month (Au­gust 28 this year) the Chi­nese cel­e­brate what is of­ten re­ferred to as ‘‘Chi­nese Valen­tine’s Day’’. The key char­ac­ters of the fes­ti­val aren’t just star-crossed lovers, how­ever, but ac­tual stars. Chi­nese leg­end has it that the stars of Al­tair and Vega are two lovers a mor­tal cowherd and a god­dess weaver - cru­elly sep­a­rated on ei­ther side of the Milky Way.

The tale has mul­ti­ple vari­a­tions, one of which says that the Jade Em­peror (aka the Heav­enly Grand­fa­ther) was ap­palled by the match and sum­moned the weaver back to the sky. When her beau tried to fol­low, he was ban­ished to the other side of the Milky Way.

On the date of the fes­ti­val, mag­pies are said to form a tem­po­rary bridge to unite the pair.

The event sees sin­gle women make of­fer­ings of food, flow­ers and face pow­der to the cou­ple. While the fes­ti­val is cel­e­brated all over China, Lovers’ Rock in Hong Kong is par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar for sin­gle­tons and new­ly­weds.

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