Qixi Festival （七夕节）goes by many names including Chinese Summer Valentine’s Day, Double Seventh Festival and Qiqiao festival.
Whole families set up tribute to the 7th fairy goddess, Weaver Girl, on Qixi. Their wish for their children to be blessed with true love and good marriage.
Prayers for Strong Love
A good match can affect a whole family’s happiness and security. There was some truth in Disney Mulan’s matchmaking scene after all. Hence why things like offline Tinder now exist in China. Young children even get involved by decorating an ox with flowers or dress up with fake horns to praise the god Taurus in return for good luck.
Single men pray only to be led to good matches like Taurus did for Cowherder.
For single women, however, their prayers can be more complicated. They pray not only for good marriages, but also for other skills.
Many ask for a wise mind and flexible hands for weaving cloth and sometimes secret messages. There are even needlework competitions to see who has the most nimble and dexterous fingers like Weaver Girl.
Yet, nothing is more important in Qixi prayers than creating strong bonds.
An Immortal Love In The Stars
Cowherder and Weaver Girl are considered the Romeo and Juliet of China. But their reincarnated love and immortal commitment trumps Shakespeare’s lovebirds’ four days.
Their story can be summed up lovingly as “Eternally, I would cross rivers and the whole galaxy to meet with you.”
The Cowherder (牛郎) and Weaver Girl (织女) are based on the stars Altair and Vega respectively. The Jade Emperor of Heavens and the Celestial Queen tragically separated the couple across space.
Once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, a flock of magpies form a bridge across the Silver River, aka the Milky Way Galaxy, to reunite the two lovers for a single day.
This is why stargazing is traditionally an important Qixi date activity.
How You Can Celebrate
There are a lot of ways anyone, even singles friends, can celebrate Qixi Festival traditions and the idea of love too.
In fact, to make sure that everyone from any cultural background could get that special feeling of Qixi celebration, we asked watercolour painter Fiona Miller to help us create some Qixi art. The results impressed and delighted us.
Inspired by the popular finger hearts pop idols and young people use to show love to fans, we decided to create an animated filter centered around hearts. Originally, it was also going to be based on heart shaped hand gestures but we changed it to be more accessible.
You can now trigger the animated filter using just a smile. Try it on Facebook or Instagram by clicking here.
We also created an e-card so that people who subscribe to Chinosity could send free e-cards to their cherished friends and lovers. To send your own personalized e-card click here.
Finally, we created our Qixi wallpaper so that people could carry the spirit of Qixi on their phone lock screens. It also works for tablets. See and download them by clicking here.
We hope that you enjoy your “Chinese Valentine’s Day” and allow love to flourish just like the legendary magpies did.
Happy Qixi Festival! 七夕节快乐（Qīxì jié kuàilè）！