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Chinese Valentine's Day
     
 

Chinese Valentine's Day!


According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese Valentine's Day (Qi Xi / 七夕节 / qī xī jié / The Night of Sevens) falls on the seventh day of the seventh month.

The story behind Qi Xi (pronounce: Chee Sher) is a love story of cowherd Niu Lang (牛郎; pinyin: niú láng)and weaver girl Zhi Nü (织女 , zhī nǚ), the seventh daughter of Emperor of Heaven (A Chinese Zeus, if you like). The Seventh Daughter was the most beautiful amongst all her sister. It happened one day that the seven sisters were bathing in a lake and Niu Lang the cowheard saw them. In his mischievous mind, he had the excellent idea of stealing the girls' clothing, which he went and did.

The sisters needed to get their clothing back and chose the youngest sister to go to him and plead with him. So, the seventh sister went to him and as he was the first man to see her beautiful naked body, the boy had to agree to marry her. They were duly married and the girl proved to be a wonderful wife and Niu turned out to be a wonderful husband and they were living happily together for many years.

However, seeing this the goddess of heaven got angry and ordered her daughter to come back and perform her duty of weaving clouds and rainbows for the sky because she was of the opinion that the girl wasn't able to concentrate on her activities after getting married. She separated her daughter from her lover husband by drawing a great dividing line in the sky and forming the Milky Way. The girl was sent nearby to the star Vega and the boy was moved to the star Altair. Thereafter the sad Zhi Nü kept herself busy weaving clouds and her lover would look at her from a faraway distance.

Back on Earth, magpies' were upset looking at the couple so sad and separated by such a distance (The magpie is a symbol of happiness in Chinese culture) and to bring some hope in their life, they got together so as to form a bridge thus paving way for the two lovers to meet at least on one single night each year, the seventh night of the seventh lunar month.

It is said that if it rains on the night of Qi Xi, its not rain drops but the tears of this beautiful couple that is crying at their misery of being separated.

On Qi Xi, offerings are made and the single or newly married women in the household make an offering to Niulang and Zhinü consisting of fruit, flowers, tea, and makeup. After finishing the offering, half of the make up is thrown on the roof and the other half divided among the young women. It is believed by doing this the women are bound in beauty with Zhinü.

This story is surprisingly similar to many Ancient Greek stories and poems where each god in the pantheon has human-like qualities and flaws, and interact together with mortal humans on earth, posses magical powers of some sort and are immortal. Both the ancient Chinese and Greeks were polytheists, much like Hindu believers today.


 
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