One of the most romantic Chinese holidays is coming right up this weekend!
For those of you not in the know, the Chinese are actually a very romantic people. In fact, they’re so into cherishing loving relationships that they celebrate up to seven different kinds of Valentine’s Days every year. Among all of these, of course, is one that they look forward to the most: Qixi.
The Qixi Festival (七夕节), otherwise known as The Double Seventh Festival, falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. For this year, this means August 14th.
The special event owes its origins to an ancient Chinese folktale named The Cowherd and The Weaver Girl, which follows the story of Niulang (牛郎, cowherd) and Zhinü (织女, weaver girl). In a case of forbidden love, the two sweethearts were banished by the gods to opposite sides of the heavenly river. It is only once a year — on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month — where they can be reunited again on a bridge formed by a flock of magpies under the sky.
In the past, newlywed couples would participate in rituals and pay tribute to both Niulang and Zhinü in hopes of a happy marriage. But how do people celebrate Qixi now? Check out our list of five different ways to spend Qixi with your partner:
1. Bake qiaoguo
If there’s any hobby that surged up during this pandemic period, it’s certainly baking! And what’s a sweeter time than baking up some sweets with the person you love?
Qiaoguo (巧果), which translates to the “skill fruit,” is a traditional treat that’s eaten during the Qixi Festival. It symbolizes the Weaver Girl’s skill in crafts and comprises oil, flour, and sugar as its three main ingredients. When mixed together, the sweet pastry dough is then molded into unique shapes and decorated with intricate and elegant patterns, not unlike those you’ll find on mooncakes.
For ambitious and romantic foodies out there, here is a recipe for you to try out!
2. Go stargazing
Gather up some blankets and snuggle together as you gaze romantically up to the stars! Separated by the celestial river in the sky — or in other words, the Milky Way — the lovers Niulang and Zhinü can actually be seen twinkling above.
Niulang, to be specific, is represented by the star Altair. Meanwhile, Zhinü is represented by Vega.
3. Send flowers
Maybe you’d like to keep things simple and show your appreciation with a classic bouquet of flowers. We got your back there, too!
If you need help figuring out the language of flowers, our suggestions would be to gift your partner with some lovely orchids, which express wishes of good fortune and unity; magnolias, which represent loyal love; or lilies, which symbolize happy and long-lasting marriages.
For more options, check out our Chinese flower gift guide right here.
4. Create a handmade gift
Since Zhinü was a weaver, one popular tradition was for girls to practice their needlework and sewing skills. During these modern times, handmade gifts are also another thoughtful way to show your love for your partner, regardless of which gender you belong to.
Try knitting a sweater or making some DIY bracelets to match! A little personalized gift from you can go a long way.
5. Have a C-drama marathon
While we can’t, in good conscience, recommend going out to the theaters for a date, we can endorse the good ol’ Netflix and Chill option!
In the mood for some more romantic reads? Celebrate love and triumph with stories of Chinoy couples who have conquered the almighty Great Wall!