The Chinese are welcoming the arrival of August through the celebration of the annual Qixi Festival. The festival, also known as the Qiqiao Festival, is celebrated by the Chinese every summer on the seventh day of the seventh month, which falls somewhere during early to mid August. Other names for this exciting holiday include the Double Seventh Festival, representative of the holiday’s occurrence on both the seventh day and seventh month. Qixi literally means the Night of Sevens.
As one can expect with most Chinese holidays and festivals, many traditions and rituals are associated with the Double Seventh Festival. It is celebrated by all Chinese, but particularly important to girls and newly-wed couples. On this day, young girls go to their local temple to pray for wisdom. As they burn paper items as offerings, they wish and pray to marry someone who will be a good and loving husband.
Newly-weds are to worship and pray to Zhinu and Niulang, the mythological couple the holiday is associated with, for a long and happy marriage. Offerings can be made to the famous couple of fruit, flowers, tea, and face powder. Once the offerings have been completed, half the face powder is to be put on the new bride and the other half thrown on the roof. It is an interesting tradition, but said to bind the woman with the beauty of Zhinu.
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For these couples, the holiday represents the symbol of a successful marriage and shows that the bride is treasured by her new family.
The Qixi Festival is associated with many traditions but there are century-old legends behind those traditions and celebrations. To learn more about the legend behind the Qixi, or Double Seventh Festival, keep a look out for the second part of this blog!