The Double Seventh Festival
By: Carina on 8/26/2012 6:57:52 PM Category: Uncategorized
The Double Seventh Festival, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, is a traditional festival full of romance.
Since this festival comes in mid-summer, the night is very beautiful with warm weather and the grass and trees reveal their luxurious greens. You will see the sky is dotted with stars and can see the Milky Way spanning from the north to the south. There are two bright stars on each bank of Milky Way. They are the Cowherd and Weaver Maid. Their romantic love story has been passed down from generation to generation. Most Chinese remember being told this romantic tragedy when they were children on The Double Seventh Day.
As the story goes, there was a Zhinv Star (Vega) who was a beautiful girl on heaven and a Qianniu Star (Altair) who was a handsome young man. Both of them fell in love with each other deeply. However, the love between gods was forbidden on heaven. Unfortunately, their love was finally found by the Queen of Heaven. And both of them were punished because of their violation of the rules. Since Zhinv was the granddaughter of the Queen of Heaven, she was penalized to do the non-stop job of weaving the brocade day and night. The job of Zhinv was weaving endless colorized clouds in a marvelous kind of silk, and the clouds changed in accordance with the change of time and seasons. Besides, Niulang was punished to fall down to the earth. Zhinv shed tears all days long because she missed Niulang so much. She worked hard every day so as to wish to satisfy the Queen of Heaven to beg her to allow Niulang’s return to heaven.
At the same time, Niulang was born in a poor family. As him grown up, he became an honest and kind-hearted fellow. His parents died when he was a child. Later he was driven out of his home by his sister-in-law. So he lived by himself herding cattle and farming.
One day, the old cattle suddenly mouthed and said to Niulang: Niulang, go to Bilian Pool; some fairies are having bath there, and you hide the red clothes, because the fairy wearing red will be your wife. So he did as he was told. After other ferries put on their clothes and flew away like bird except the fairy without clothes. Niulang asked her to be his wife, and at this time, Zhinv recognized this young man was indeed her Qianniu star. Hence, Zhinv became Niulang’s wife. After marriage, this couple loved each other and led a happy life; also they had one son and one daughter.
Misfortune came to this couple again. Their happy marriage life was not too long before the Queen of Heaven found them together. So Zhinv was taken away by the Queen of Heaven. With the help of celestial cattle, the Cowhand flew to heaven with his son and daughter. At the time when he was about to catch up with his wife, the Queen of Heaven took off one of her gold hairpins and made a stroke. One billowy river appeared in front of the Cowhand. The Cowhand and Weaver Maid were separated on the two banks forever and could only feel their tears. Their loyalty to love touched magpies, so tens of thousands of magpies came to build a bridge for the Cowhand and Weaver Maid to meet each other. The Queen was eventually moved and allowed them to meet each year on the 7th of the 7th lunar month. Hence their meeting date has been called "Qi Xi" (Double Seventh).
Today some traditional customs are still observed in rural areas of China, but have been weakened or diluted due to urbanization. However, the legend of the Cowhand and Weaver Maid has taken root in the hearts of the people. In recent years, in particular, urban youths have celebrated it as Valentine's Day in China.
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