What is the Qixi Festival? Google Doodle dives into the romantic legend of Chinese Valentine’s Day

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The illustration by Celine You marks the celebration of love

If you haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day this year, don’t worry! Another occasion to celebrate Valentine’s Day is the Qixi Festival.

The new Google Doodle, made by Céline You with red stamps, shows a day celebrated in Taiwan, Singapore and other parts of Asia because of a love affair.

Doodles Archive says it is also called the Festival of the Magpie, the Night of Sevens, and the Festival of the Double Seventh. In the lunar calendar, it is the seventh day of the seventh month. On this day, singles and couples give gifts like roses and sweets to the people they love.

How the Qixi Festival was born

The festival dates back to the time of the Han Dynasty. In the past, people showed off their craft skills, held worship services for Zhinu (one of the legends behind the festival), and honored the oxen with flower-hanging ceremonies.

The story behind the event

The story behind the day is that of a herdsman named Niulang and a weaver named Zhinu. Zhinu was the daughter of a powerful goddess and Niulang was a lowly herdsman. Even though they were different, these two fell deeply in love. And Zhinu decided to stay on Earth without permission. She became a weaver, got married and lived a happy life with Niulang. Eventually, she had two children, a boy and a girl.

Doodle’s Archive says that when the Queen Mother of Heaven found out about their marriage, she brought Zhinu back. Niulang followed his wife and flew into the sky with their two children to rescue her. But the queen used her hairpin to create the Milky Way, a river that runs between the Earth and the heavens, so he couldn’t get to Zhinu. But the couple’s sadness was felt throughout the universe, and the queen, moved by their sadness, let the family reunite the double seven by building a bridge of flying magpies over the river.

Timeout says that on this day, Chinese women wear Hanfu, which is a long, flowing dress with loose sleeves and a belt around the waist. They spend the day making gifts of tea, wine, flowers, and different kinds of fruits to give to Zhinu as prayers for wisdom and for their wishes to come true. Single women prayed to the celestial couple to find them a good partner, and newly married women asked to have a child.