Remember the story of The Cowherd and the Weaving Maid?
The appearance of Altair and Vega (stars separated by the Milky Way)?
Here’s another lovely illustration for you to look at.
The festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar and is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. It was traditionally celebrated by the Han Chinese and also by the Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese. Because the Gregorian calendar and the Chinese lunar are calculated, the festival different day in August every year.
Here’s a link with more information about the festival.
From what I have gathered in my open-source research, the Taiwanese seem to celebrate the festival in a more modernized fashion because the story and the traditions got lost over time due to people becoming a bit too complacent about it.
Below is an excerpt from the following blog entry.
“I asked a few couples on the street where Qixi originated from. Sadly, none of them can recall the full story. One young girl actually said, “It doesn’t really matter where it comes from, it’s good to receive and give gifts.””
On the other hand, it is interesting how a small minority of people are celebrating the festival in China today. I am under the assumption that the small minority that celebrate it in a more traditional manner are trying to reclaim what they believe had been lost during the Cultural Revolution. This seems to be only a very small minority of enthusiasts.
Below are some images that I found on the Internet of how a small minority of young people in China are celebrating the festival today.
On the other hand, Hong Kongers celebrate it different from how my Taishanese paternal grandmother celebrated the festival. See the link below for more information.
My Taishanese paternal grandmother made “yon” (a Taishanese snack) shaped like swans laying eggs on the nest when we used to celebrate the festival at her home along with seven bowls of homemade black sesame seed paste to represent the Seven Sisters. I always wondered why they were shaped like swans. I recently discovered that Deneb is the tail end of Cygnus the Swan. But it could also represent the bridge of magpies in the story.
Curiously, Vega (the Weaving Maid star) and Altair (the Cowherd star) lie on opposite “banks” of the Milky Way (the Silver Lake) and Cygnus the Swan or the bridge of magpies lie on the Milky Way. Perhaps the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Hans saw the same stars in the Summer Triangle, but came up with different stories to remember it by.
The festival will fall on August 28, 2017 next year. No matter how you choose to celebrate it wherever you are in the world, it is a beautiful story and festival.