Did you realize there is a Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as Qixi Festival (七夕節) or Qiqiao (乞巧節)? Although the February Valentines Day has perhaps surpassed the Chinese one in popularity, both remain popular days with couples here in Taiwan.
The story behind Chinese Valentine’s Day, is an old one, dating back 2600 years, and as seems to often be the case with these old stories, somewhat of a sad one. It tells the tale of a fair maiden goddess of weaving, Zhinu (織女), who gets bored living in heaven and comes down to Earth for a bit of excitement. During her sojourn, she meets and falls in love with a cow herder, Niulang (牛郎). They eventually get married and have two children.
Although you might think that a match between a weaver and a cow herd would be quite an appropriate one, the gods were furious with the young goddess for falling in love with a mere mortal and demand that she return to heaven. Niulang finds a way to carry his children to heaven (without dying to get there as the rest of us would have to do) to search for his beautiful young wife.
Unfortunately, Zhinu’s mother discovered the plan and used her needle to etch the silver river (which you may know as the Milky Way) across the sky with one of the lovers on either side. Since then they have been able to meet but once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. (August 13 this year) On this day, all the magpies in heaven take pity on the two lovers and form a flock so thick that it serves as a bridge over the river.
Hearing this story reminds me of the first two years of our marriage when Vanessa when I was in Hawaii and Vanessa was running the store here in Taiwan. It seemed like forever waiting for the magpies to form that bridge (in the form of a Boeing 747 in our case).
Whether you share Niulang and Zhinu’s fate of being separated by a large body of water or you are lucky enough to be together on this special day, you may be interested in one of the new products Vanessa has designed for the occasion.