Traditions and Customs of Qixi
1. Spider web and needle shadows
In the Han Dynasty, girls would place a small spider in a small box. The density of the web indicated the skillfulness of a girl. In the Tang Dynasty, the spider was placed on a melon. In the Song and Yuan Dynasties, the shadow of a needle on the water’s surface was the indicator. These tricks are all tests of embroidery skills.
2.Worshiping the Girl Weaver
As for the ceremony worshiping the Girl Weaver, girls and young ladies would make appointments with their friends and neighbors in advance. They would put a table out under the moonlight with tea, white wine, five kinds of seeds and fruits ( longan, red dates, hazelnuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds). In addition, there would be a bunch of flowers wrapped in red paper in a bottle, and in front of the flowers would be a small incense burner. The young ladies and girls would fast for one day and have a bath. After the worship, everyone sat around the table, eating, chattering, and praying silently to the Girl Weaver. The girls wished to be more beautiful or marry a good man, and the young ladies wished to have a baby and a happy family.
3.Making and eating Qiaoguo Qiaoguo, also named Qiqiao fruit, has many patterns. Its ingredients are oil, flour, sugar, and honey. In ReminiscencesoftheEastern
Capital , a notebook about city life in the Song Dynasty, Qiaoguo is called “Xiaoyan’er” and “Guoshihuayang.” During the Song Dynasty, Qiaoguo could be bought in the market.
Cooking method: first, heat the sugar into liquid; mix it with the flour, and add the sesame; properly mix them in and spread the dough on the chopping board. When it is cold, cut the dough into long cubes, and shape it into a fusiform. Finally fry it in the pot, and then the Qiaoguo is made. Fried flour-made dough in a variety of shapes are also known as Qiaoguo.
In addition, there can be many varieties of fruits presented in the Qiqiao ceremony: the fruits can be carved into flowers and birds or patterned in relief on the fruits’ surfaces. These are called flowery fruits.
Nowadays Qixi is regarded as the Chinese Valentine’s Day. On this romantic festival, sweethearts present fragrant flowers and express their tender love to each other. Many choose to make proposals to their partners on Qixi.
Regardless of the diverse enrichment of Qixi Festival, the original connotation of this traditional festival will never be forgotten. In 2006, Qixi Festival was listed by the State Council as the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage. There are many celebrating activities held during Qixi throughout China; for instance, the Qiqiao Festivals in Guangzhou and the Longnan area of Gansu Province both have a strong influence in the locality. In various ways, traditional Chinese culture are mixed into modern life and passed down from one generation to another.