learn Chinese online – Origin, Schedule and Poem of Double Seventh Festiv

The Double Seventh Festival, also Qixi Festival, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, is a traditional festival full of romance. It often goes into August in the Gregorian calendar.
This festival is in mid-summer when the weather is warm and the grass and trees reveal their luxurious greens. At night when the sky is dotted with stars, and people can see the Milky Way spanning from the north to the south. On each bank of it are bright stars, which see each other from afar. They are the Cowherd and Weaver Maid, and about them there is a beautiful love story passed down from generation to generation.

Long, long ago, there was an honest and kind-hearted fellow named Niu Lang (Cowhand). 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, a fairy from heaven Zhinv (Weaver Maid) fell in love with him and came down secretly to earth and married him. The cowhand farmed in the field and the Weaver Maid wove at home. They lived a happy life and gave birth to a boy and a girl. Unfortunately, the God of Heaven soon found out the fact and ordered the Queen Mother of the Western Heavens to bring the Weaver Maid back.
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 Mother 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 Mother 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).

Scholars have shown the Double Seventh Festival originated from the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD220). Historical documents from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (AD371-420) mention the festival, while records from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) depict the grand evening banquet of Emperor Taizong and his concubines. By the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties, special articles for the Qi Xi were seen being sold on markets in the capital. The bustling markets demonstrated the significance of the festival.

Qixi is also known as the “Begging for Skills Festival” or “Daughters’ Festival.” In the past, girls would hold ceremonies on the day and pray to Zhinv for wisdom, dexterity and a satisfying marriage. In some parts of Shandong Province, young women would offer fruit and pastries to her in return for a blessing of intelligence. If spiders were seen to weave webs on sacrificial objects, it was believed that Zhinv was offering positive feedback. In other parts of China, the custom was for seven close friends to gather to make dumplings. They would put into three separate dumplings a needle, a copper coin and a red date, which represented perfect needlework skills, good fortune and an early marriage respectively.

Young women in southern China wove small handicrafts with colored paper, grass and thread. Weaving and needlework competitions would be held to see who had the best hands and the brightest mind, prerequisites for being a good wife and mother.

One of the most famous poems about the legend was written by Qin Guan of in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
Fairy of the Magpie Bridge
Among the beautiful clouds,
Over the heavenly river,
Crosses the weaving maiden.
A night of rendezvous,
Across the autumn sky.
Surpasses joy on earth.
Moments of tender love and dream,
So sad to leave the magpie bridge.

Eternal love between us two,
Shall withstand the time apart.
(Translated by Kylie Hsu)

The seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar in the coming years.
1. 2010-08-16
2. 2011-08-06
3. 2012-08-23
4. 2013-08-13
5. 2014-08-02
6. 2015-08-20
7. 2016-08-09
8. 2017-08-28
9. 2018-08-17
10. 2019-08-07
11. 2020-08-25

source: Icxo, Wikipedia and etc.

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