Read about the origin, history and celebration of Valentine's Day (Qi Qiao Jie) in China.
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Valentine's Day in China

Origin and History of Valentine's Day in China

Chinese Valentine’s Day is similar to Valentine’s Day celebrated in the West. The occasion is tagged with a romantical Chinese legend. The story is about a handsome unfortunate boy, who stayed with his elder brother and sister-in-law. His elder brother inherited the whole wealth whereas the boy was the ‘proud’ owner of an old ox. He worked with the ox in the field every day. The ox turned out to be an immortal from heaven. One fine day it suddenly said to the cowherd, “You are a nice person. If you want to get married, go to the brook and your wish will be come true.” He followed the words of the ox and went to the stream. There he found 7 pretty fairies who had flown down from heaven. The boy was fascinated by the youngest and he secretly took away her clothes. The other six fairies flew back to their world after their bath but the youngest couldn’t fly without her fairy garments. The boy promised to return her clothes if she agreed to marry him. They finally got married and gave birth to two children. After two years the emperor realized that the sky was no longer beautiful without his 7th daughter, who used to weave clouds and rainbows. He ordered his mother to bring back the missing child. The young pair was forcibly separated. The princess was moved to the star Vega and the cowherd was sent to the star Altair. However, the emperor could not bear to see the pitiable condition of his daughter. They are allowed to meet only once a year. It was on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month. That day is celebrated as Chinese Valentine’s day.

Local name: Qi Qiao Jie

Ways to celeberate Qi Qiao Jie in China

According to Chinese tradition, on this day unmarried girls are expected to pray with their mothers to become skilled in needlecraft. Their main focus is on fruits, incense and needlework. On this date unmarried girls pray for a perfect husband. This is the day when girls are taught how to handle family responsibilities and how to be a good person in the society. Young people in China also give flowers, special chocolates and gifts to mark this special day.