HUANGLING, China – The beautiful Chinese countryside village of Huangling hosted the Qixi Festival on August 7 with traditional folk activities and performances to celebrate the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
Qixi Festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month every year and this year on August 9. It originated from the romantic yet tragic myth of the Weaving Maid (Zhi Nu) and the Cowherder (Niu Lang), who meet once a year on this day In the Milky Way.
In the story, Zhi Nu and Niu Lang fall in love, but Zhi Nu’s mother — the Queen of Heaven — forbids the star-crossed lovers from being together. In an act of benevolence however, she relents, allowing the lovers to meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month, when a bridge of magpies forms connecting the heavens and the earth.
Performances of the tale by actors in traditional costumes on Huangling’s famous Tianjie Street attracted many visitors, with further reenactments also staged in the nearby Shimen Mountain gorge.
Wu Xiangyang, CEO of Wuyuan Rural Culture Development Co., Ltd., the organization that oversees Huangling’s Qixi Festival, commented, “Qixi is special to Chinese people, so we adopted an original approach to bring back that real Qixi experience to our visitors, providing an opportunity to celebrate love in a different way.”
This year’s Qixi Festival is also part of Huangling’s annual Shaiqiu Festival, which not only presents shaiqiu tradition to the world but also encourages visitors to interact with locals and join fun activities.
During the Qixi Festival celebrations, visitors participated in the Chinese Valentine’s contests of traditional festival customs like stringing chilies, threading needles and floating needles on the water to pray that they meet their Mr. Right.
“I can feel love is in the air,” said one visitor from Shanghai. “It’s an amazing and unique journey to travel back in time and experience how the Qixi Festival was celebrated historically. I participated in the three contests and won first prize; it’s the best Chinese Valentine’s Day I’ve had.”
In the next five months, the Shaiqiu Festival will feature a peculiar fruit and vegetable exhibition on August 12, the Shuoxi Creek Festival on August 13, Mid-Autumn Festival mountain climbing on September 15 and Winter Festival feast on December 21.