Asian Language School

3 August 2019

Chinese Valentine Qixi

The Legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl

Chinese Valentine Qixi

Qixi (七夕qīxī) is known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. It falls each year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, hence it is also called the Double Seven Festival. It is one of the major Chinese traditional festivals.

The Legend of Qixi

The legend of Qixi originates from the legend of the cowherd (牛郎 niúláng) and the weaver girl (织女 zhīnǚ), which is a famous Chinese love story and an important part of the Chinese culture to know.

Once upon a time, there was a cowherd named 牛郎 niúláng. One day, he was herding his cow and walked into a forest. There he met a fairy, the weaver girl 织女 zhīnǚ who came to visit the earth. The two fell in love and got married. They lived happily and had a son together.

However, the Jade Emperor and the Jade Empresses, who were the masters of the weaver girl, wanted the weaver girl to return to heaven. They sent guards to earth to take her back to the palace in heaven. On the seventh day of the seventh month, when the cowherd was away from home, the heavenly guards came to the weaver girl’s home and caught her. The weaver girl begged to the guards for she had a son with her. The guards ignored her plea and took her away.

When the cowherd came home, he panicked as he couldn’t find his wife and son. At this time, his cow magically spoke and asked him to use his hide to make a special basket to carry his son and pursue his wife. And so he did! When he was about to catch up with the guards and his wife, the Jade Empress used her hair pin to divide the milky way and create a river that separated the two of them.

The cowherd and the waiver girl cried pitifully, each on the other side of the river, unable to unite with their loved one. The heavenly magpies, touched by the tragedy that befell the couple, formed a magical bridge that let the cowherd and the weaver girl cross the river and reunite. The Jade Empresses, too, was moved by their love and agreed to let them meet once a year on the bridge on the seventh day of the seventh month.

Chinese Valentine

The love story between the cowherd and the waiver girl is the inspiration to have the day celebrated as a modern Chinese Valentine.

七夕节快乐!Happy Qixi Festival!