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Qixi Festival: The Best Ways to Celebrate The Chinese Valentine’s Day

qixi festival
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Qixi Festival is a traditional Chinese festival that falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, making it known as the Double Seventh Festival or Qixi Day. It’s a day of love and celebration, where people show their affection for each other and gifts are exchanged, just like the Western Valentine’s day attributed to Saint Valentine.

Here’s everything you will want to know about this festival.

Where Did Qixi Festival’s Story Come From?

Qixi Festival’s origins came from two lovers who had a forbidden relationship and marriage. 

Niulang was an orphan who lived with his brother and sister-in-law as a cowherd and was often subject to abuse. He was given an old cow when his brother and his wife forced him out of their lives.

Niulang received a message from his old cow, who suddenly spoke that Zhinu was approaching. Upon meeting, the heavenly weaver girl and Niulang fell in love with each other.

Unfortunately, The Jade Emperor discovered the marriage and withdrew Zhinu back into heaven. Niulang chased after Zhinu but the Queen Mother of the West, Zhinü’s mother, drew a Silver River, which is the Milky Way, against his passing.

Watching everything was the magpies who were moved by the events. They used themselves to build a bridge that would allow Niulang to pass the river and meet each other. This urged the Emperor of Heaven to let both Zhinu and Niulang meet each other on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month in the night sky, creating the origins of this festival that began 2,600 years ago in ancient China during the Han dynasty. 

Today, many Asians celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day in the name of Zhinu and Niulang and having a happy life and family.

7 Ways to Celebrate the Qixi Festival

Just like its Western counterpart, the romantic legend encourages many celebrants to make the day special together with their loved ones. Mark your Chinese Lunar Calendars with Qixi Festival dates to do the following.

1. Pray to Zhinu for Skillful Hands

Zhinu is the heavenly girl of weaving and encourages celebrants to take their skills to the next level by doing something with their hands. If you’re not confident about learning something new with your hands, you can pray to Zhinu to help you gain the skills, fortitude, and diligence to keep practicing and improve your craft.

2. Ingenuity Competitions

Ingenuity competitions are contests that ask people to solve a problem creatively. It celebrates creativity, inventiveness, and innovation that Chinese culture values and cultivates. They encourage competitors and observers to explore, create, and share innovative solutions to problems. While it isn’t the most romantic thing for Qixi, it aligns itself with the magpies inspired by the romantic legend and created a unique solution to help.

3. Eat Qiaoguo (Qixi Pastry)

Qiaoguo pastry is a traditional Chinese pastry made with glutinous rice flour, salt, water, and sesame oil. It was a favorite among the Qing Dynasty rulers and called “Qing-Qing.” It was mainly known to the court ladies and was considered a delicacy in the past. Qiaoguo pastry was first made in the Tang Dynasty. It’s customary to eat this pastry during the Qixi Festival.

4. Attend Wedding Banquets

For the Chinese culture, a wedding banquet is a time to feast and enjoy life’s prosperity. It signifies the joy of a new family with a new beginning. Zhinu and Niulang were married despite the disagreement of The Jade Emperor, signifying their love’s strength and determination. Attending wedding banquets during Qixi is a way to acknowledge the celestial Chinese lovers’ strong love for each other in people wedded during the Double Seventh Day.

5. Cleverly Distribute Wedding Invitations

Typically, you can send your wedding invitations by email or snail mail to your guests. However, during Qixi, you can do it cleverly as a homage to both Zhinu and Niulang’s hidden wedding to escape The Jade Emperor and the Goddess of Heaven. You can sneak your wedding invitations in your friends’ bags (if they’re young women) or leave them inside their furniture or cabinets without telling them.

6. Build Something Handmade

If you have the skills, build something handmade during the Qixi festival. it can be carved exotic flowers, knitted items, or even artworks. Zhinu is the heavenly weaver who uses her hands’ skill to create something of great value. Thus, doing something of the same nature pays tribute to the literally star-crossed lovers during the seventh day of the 7th lunar month.

7. Plan An Amazing Date With Your Spouse

A great dinner date is an excellent option to celebrate the Qixi Festival with your spouse. After all, it’s the equivalent of the West’s Valentine’s Day. However, strive to keep it special because it isn’t so often that the seventh day of the seventh month appears on your calendars. For example, invite your spouse to go to the beach or go abroad to travel with the Qixi Festival date as the starting date of your vacation.

qi xi festival illustration

When’s The Next Qixi Festival?

The Qixi Festival occurs during the lunar calendar’s seventh day and seventh month. If you would convert it to the conventional calendar, here are the dates you can celebrate them. 

Year Date
2015 August 20
2016 August 9
2017 August 28
2018 August 17
2019 August 7
2020 August 25
2021 August 14
2022 August 4
2023 August 22
2024 August 10
2025 August 29
2026 August 19

In Closing

The Qixi Festival is a beautiful celebration of a couple’s love for each other with an amazing origin story of celestial proportions. Enjoy the Qixi Festival the best way possible by enjoying it with your spouse and the people you love the most.

  • The Qixi Festival is the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar
  • During this date, Zhinu and Niulang, two star-crossed lovers, cross the magpie bridge over the Milky Way to meet each other in love.
  • Any activity that resembles Zhinu and Niulang’s story, such as attending weddings, dating in a special way, or doing something that attributes to the couple’s traits, is a great way to celebrate the Qixi Festival
  • Make sure to convert the Chinese lunar calendar’s Qixi Dates properly in the conventional calendar to avoid missing it

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