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Chinese Valentine’s Day – Qi Xi Festival (七夕节) Posted by on Aug 4, 2011 in Culture, festivals

In China, the seventh day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar is known as the Qi Xi Festival (七夕节 – qī xì jié). This ancient Chinese festival goes by many names, including: the Night of Sevens, the Magpie Festival, and in the more modern sense of the word, Chinese Valentine’s Day (情人节 – qíng rén jié). Although this festival has been around for a long, long time, it tends to take a backseat to other more celebrated Chinese festivals, such as National Day and Spring Festival. These days, Chinese love-birds celebrate the Qi Xi Festival in a fashion all-to similar to Valentine’s Day in the West – dinner dates, flowers, and candy. These days, most young Chinese probably won’t even be able to explain the legend of this holiday, as they are more concerned with celebrating the Western way. Thankfully, the history behind this ancient festival is much more interesting than a Hallmark card and a box of chocolates, and hopefully its traditions are preserved. This year, the festival falls on August 6th (which just so happens to be a certain blogger’s 26th birthday), and you can bet your bottom dollar that the Hou Hai area of Beijing will be packed full of Chinese couples making out and groping each other in public. For those of you not so interested in that side of the festival, HERE is a great written explanation of Qi Xi’s history, and below is a video I made about the Night of Sevens:

Niu Lang and Zhi Nu - talk about star-crossed lovers.

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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