Qi Xi Festival


QiXi or Qiqiao Festival is a Chinese festival that celebrates the love between cowherd and weaver girl in mythology. It is believed that they meet every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunisolar month of the Chinese calendar, celebrating their love and unison. It is a worship based on the natural astrology. This festival has various names- The Double Seventh Festival, the Chinese Valentine's Day,The Night of Sevens, and the Magpie Festival.

Qi Xi Festival 2023

Tue , 22nd Aug 2023

Origin

The general folklore is a love story between Zhinü (织女, a weaver girl and Niulang (牛郎 the cowherd. Niulang was an orphan who lived with his brother and sister in law. His sister-in-law disliked and abused him, and Niulang was eveually forced to leave their home with only an old cow as his company. One day the cow led Niulang to a lake where fairies took a bath on earth. The old cow suddenly spoke to the boy, saying that a fairy by the name Zhinü, who is the heavenly weaver will descend onto this lake and if she fails to go reach the heaven before next morning, she is bound to stay with here with Niulang. Based on the old cow’s words, Niulang saw the heavenly angel and they both instantly fell in love, they stayed together for a longtime. The Emperor of heaven(玉皇大帝, The Jade Emperor), Supreme Deity in Taoism was not happy about the marriage between a mortal and the fairy. He ordered the heavenly troops to escort Zhinü back.

Niulang was heartbroken and decided to chase after the troops. But he couldn’t cross the Milky way, moved by his love and efforts the magpies built a bridge to reunite the fairy and Niulang. Their love moved everyone on earth and heaven; so the Jade Emperor allowed Niulang and the fairy Zhinü to meet once a year on the seventh night of the seventh month. This is how Qixi festival came to existence. The festival traces back to the Han Dynasty period of 202 BC – 220 AD. According to Chinese astrology, the heavenly weaver fairy symbolises Vega star and the orphan cowherd symbolises Altair.

Traditions

This date is observed in similar fashion to Valentine’s Day in the West. This festival is celebrated with acts of expressing love, romantic gestures, marriage proposals of love. The Double Seventh Festival- 7thday of 7thmonth also calls attention to needlework and weavers- traditional prayers are offered to Zhinü for blessing towards dexterity in needlework.

On this day, the Chinese gaze at the sky to look for stars Vega and Altair shimmering in the Milky Way, and Deneb, a third star, that symbolises the bridge between the two stars. It is often believed that if it pours on this day, it is because the tears of the separated couple pour down as rain on earth. Based on the importance of Magpies in the legend, magpies signify conjugal happiness and faithfulness.

In certain places in China, people gather and build a four-meter-long bridge with big incense sticks signifying the magpie bridge and decorate them with colourful flowers. They burn the bridge at night after offering prayers and wish for marital happiness in life.

Qi Xi  festival dates between 2020 & 2030

Year

Date

2020

Tuesday, 25th of August

2021

Saturday, 14th of August 

2022

Thursday, 4th of August

2023

Tuesday, 22nd of August

2024

Saturday, 10th of August

2025

Friday, 29th of August

2026

Wednesday, 19th of August

2027

Sunday, 8th of August

2028

Saturday, 26th of August

2029

Thursday, 16th of August

2030

Monday, 5th of August

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