You might be thinking… wait, Chinese Valentine’s Day is celebrated in August? There are actually six different days in the year when people in China celebrate ‘Valentine’s Day’, however we’re going to give you the lowdown on what we would see as the most important Valentine’s Day in China.
Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day, celebrates the romantic tale of two lovers who only get together once a year. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar – this year it’s Saturday 14th August. In the coming years it’ll be celebrated on:
2022: Thursday 4th August
2023: Tuesday 22nd August
2024: Saturday 10th August
2025: Friday 29th August
As you can see the date changes each calendar year – much the same as Chinese New Year!
The tale can be traced to over 2,000 years ago in the Han Dynasty, read below to find out more…
A Tale of Undying Love…
In the story, Niu Lang (cowherd) is a handsome shepherd who lived alone tending to his herd and looking after his farm. He met and married a beautiful woman named Zhi Nu (weaver girl) who soon gave birth to two children and they lived happily together.
What Niu Lang didn’t know is that Zhi Nu is actually the seventh daughter of the Goddess of Heaven. Niu Lang decided to visit earth to spend the day as a mortal and that was the day she fell in love with Niu Lang and they decided to spend the rest of their lives together. The Goddess became extremely angry with Zhi Nu for coming down to earth to marry a mortal.
Due to the forbidden love, the Goddess separated Niu Lang and Zhi Nu to opposite ends of the Silver River, which is symbolic of the Milky Way. The Goddess sent soldiers down to bring Zhi Nu back to heaven.
Thankfully, the Goddess overcame her anger as she was so impressed by Niu Lang and Zhi Nu’s undying love that she allowed them to visit each other once a year. To facilitate the visit, the Goddess summoned a flock of magpies to form a bridge between heaven and earth.
Nowadays, Qi Xi is celebrated as people in China offer fruits and other foods to Zhi Nu on the night of the festival. Qi Xi is not a national holiday in China, however many people choose to exchange gifts to celebrate their love such as; chocolates, flowers and cute teddy bears!
What Other Valentine’s Days are Celebrated in China?
The six unofficial Valentine’s Days celebrated each year in China:
- February 14th – Valentine’s Day (情人节 qíngrén jié)
- March 14th – White Valentine’s Day (白色情人节 báisè qíngrén jié)
- May 20th – 520 Festival (五二零节 wǔ’èr líng jié)
- 7th Day of 7th Month in Lunar Calendar – Qixi Festival (七夕节, Qīxì jié)
- 15th Day in Lunar Year – Lantern Festival (元宵节, Yuánxiāo jié)
- November 11th – Single’s Day (双十一, Shuāng shíyī)