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All you need to know about 七夕 - Chinese Valentine's Day

Aug.13, 2021

Tomorrow is another Chinese Traditional Festival - 七夕 (Qīxī).


七夕 falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar, which is August 14th this year. It's an increasingly popular traditional festival among the young generation in China.

Today we would like to explain some interesting facts about 七夕 Festival so you can have a better understanding about this romantic Chinese Festival.

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七夕 = Chinese Valentine's Day?


七夕 was derived from the worship of the natural astrological star signs. Chinese ancestors worship the stars of Altair and Vega, which are distributed on the 2 sides of the Milky Way. According to Chinese ancestors' observations, the constellation of Altair is like a cow ploughing farmland, and the constellation of Vega symbolizes a weaving girl.


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From ancient time and as years passed, Chinese mythology changed this "weaving girl"  into a goddess who loves weaving clouds, and is also a protector of women, children and couples. People call this goddess "七姐 (Qījiě)" - the Seventh Elder Sister. People celebrate her birthday which is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. That's the origin of 七夕.

The derivation of the story hasn't finished. Gradually, people further developed a love story based on the star sign and 七姐's mythology - 牛郎 (Niúláng: cow herder) and 织女 (Zhīnǚ: weaver goddess). The earliest-known reference to this famous love story dates back to over 2,600 years ago. Check out the story:

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How did the ancient Chinese celebrate 七夕?


In ancient time, on the night of 七夕, unmarried girls prayed to Vega for having clever hands, and a good sense for weaving, thus to gain a happy marriage.

To celebrate this festival, ancient Chinese women invented some weaving related games:

投针验巧 tóu zhēn yàn qiǎo


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For this game they should put some water in a vessel and leave it in the open air until it is covered by a film of dust. Then, cast a needle or thin straw on it to see the pattern of the shadow at the bottom, so as to test their dexterity.

穿针乞巧 chuān zhēn qǐ qiǎo


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This is a game testing the girls' speed of threading a needle under the moon. The girl who can thread a needle with 7 or 9 holes the quickest will win the game.

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七夕 in Modern China


七夕 was not mainly themed with love at the beginning. Inspired by the story of 牛郎 and 织女,  it has mutated into a festival for romance in modern times.

In recent years, due to the comercialisation of the holiday, 七夕 has become more and more connected to Valentine's Day.


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(七夕 has become an important advertising campaign in Chinese market)


Today, let's also take advantage of 七夕 to learn some romantic phrases in Chinese, just in case you need them in the future:

I like you.
我喜欢你。

Wǒ xǐhuan nǐ.


I love you.
我爱你。
Wǒ ài nǐ.    
                                               
Let's get together.
我们在一起吧。
Wǒmen zài yìqǐ ba.

I grasped your hand. Together with you I will grow old.
执子之手,与子偕老。

Zhí zǐ zhī shǒu, yǔ zǐ xié lǎo.


A household verse from an ancient poem. Chinese people always quote this verse to express their appreciation and commitment towards eternal love.


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Some special number code for love:
520 - wǒ ài nǐ - 我爱你
I love you

1314 - yì shēng yí shì - 一生一世
whole lifetime

5201314 - 我爱你一生一世

I love you forever

Silk Mandarin 祝你和你的爱人七夕节快乐!
Silk Mandarin wishes you and your loved ones a sweet Qixi Festival!

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