28 August 2017

Chinese Valentine's Day - the love story

Today is Chinese Valentine's Day. Since it's not my tradition I don't care much to celebrate. This year even my husband forgot about it.

Valentine's Day is always celebrated at 7th day of 7th month of Lunar Calendar. This day is also called Qixi Festival, Double Seven Festival, the Night of Sevens or the Magpie Festival. It's one of the most celebrated festivals amoung couples.
This day is celebrated since Han Dynasty. The oldest known reference to this myth dates to over 2600 years ago. The tale was told in a poem from the Classic of Poetry. 
Classic of Poetry is the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry dating 11th to 7th centuries BC.

The tale is a love story of Zhinu and Niulang.

Zhinu was a 7th daughter of the Emperor of Heaven. Because of her talend of handicrafting, she was called a Weaving Maid. She had a skill to weave clouds and rainbows to beautify the world. 
Niulang was an orphaned good-looking poor boy. After his parents died he was living with elder brother and his wife. The boy owned an old ox and worked on farm everyday, that's why he was called a cowherd.
The ox was an immortal from heaves which was punished for mistakes and send to the Earth as an ox. One day the ox told the cowherd that if he wants to get married he should go to the brook and his wish will come true. 
The boy went there and saw all 7 daughters of Emperor which came down from Heaven to take a bath. Cowherd was fascinated by the youngest girl so he secretly took away her clothings. He told her that will give her clothes back only if she promise to be his wife. The girl then agreed to his request so they married and later had two children. 
When the old fox was dying, he told the cowherd to keep his hide for emergency purpose. 
The Emperor found the sky is not as beautiful without his daughter so he wanted her back. He asked the daughter's grandmother to find her and bring back. 
While the daughter was flying to heaven with her grandmother, the boy wore the ox hide, took kids in two bamboo baskets with his wife's old clothes and chased them in the sky. 
Their love was not allowed by the Emperor. The grandmother made a Milky Way in the sky to keep them separated. The princes was moved to the star Vega and cowherd with kids stayed in the star Altair. 
Once a year on 7th day of 7th month of Lunar Calendar a flog of magpies form a bridge to let the lovers reunite for one day. It's the only day the Emperor let them to meet. 
Usually the Chinese Valentine's Day is rainy - the rain are the tears of the two lovers.

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