White Valentine’s Day — 爱 Love
Valentine’s Day was just a few weeks ago. How did you celebrate this special day? Red roses, chocolates, strawberries and followed by a romantic candle lit dinner?
Modern day hipsters and uber cool couples are finding various creative ways to mark this day. There is no right or wrong way and perhaps every day can be a Valentine’s Day too. Why not?
According to popular Chinese beliefs, Valentine’s Day is called the lovers’ festival. The “Chinese Valentine’s Day” is the Qixi Festival, celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It commemorates a day on which a legendary cowherd and weaving maid are allowed precious time to be together. This folklore is rather a romantic one, with a hint of mythical fantasy element to it.
It is a love story between Zhinü (the weaver girl) and Niulang (the cowherd). Their love was not allowed, as Zhinü was the Goddess’s seventh daughter who had just escaped from boring heaven to look for fun. Fate saw them meeting each other and fell madly in love and eventually getting married without the knowledge of the Goddess. Zhinü proved to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang to be a good husband. They lived happily and had two children. But the Goddess of Heaven soon found out that Zhinü, a fairy girl had married a mere mortal and was furious and ordered her to return to heaven.
On Earth, Niulang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his ox began to talk, telling him that if he killed it and put on its hide he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. Crying bitterly, he killed the ox, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhinü. The Goddess discovered this and was fuming mad. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever. Zhinü must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving while Niulang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children. But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon .. Qixi.
There is a much beloved romantic ballad sung by the late Chinese songstress Teresa Teng. The title of this enchanting song is ‘The moon represents my heart song,’ 月亮代表我的心.
Common sense would make one wonder, how does a moon represent one’s heart? Well, on a moonless night, one cannot see the moon yet one knows the moon is there .. emitting the same aura. Similar to many lovers in the 21st century where long distance relationships are a common affair, even though our loved one may not be at our side all the time, we are secure in their unwavering love for us. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. This old adage rings true in almost all aspects of our lives. Just like not taking anyone or anything for granted.