Chinese Valentine’s Day

Chinese Valentine’s Day is a holiday observed in China on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This places the holiday somewhere around the middle of August on the Gregorian calendar. It has been celebrated for thousands of years, but it is only an observance and is not an official public holiday in China.

The History of Chinese Valentine’s Day

Chinese Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since the Han Dynasty in the third century B.C. It is traditionally observed with the Qixi Festival, and its celebration is based on the myth of the cowherd and the weaver girl. According to the myth, Niulang was an orphan who stayed with his sister-in-law and brother. He had an unhappy life and was usually abused by his sister-in-law.

One day, his brother and sister-in-law kicked him out of the house and gave him only a cow as consolation. The cow eventually spoke to him and told him that a fairy would visit him and that the fairy was the heavenly weaver. The fairy did come, and when Niulang saw her, he instantly fell in love with her. He then married her, and when the Jade Emperor (the Emperor of Heaven) found out, he was extremely mad. The emperor was so mad that he sent his minions down to bring the weaver back to heaven.

Heartbroken and dejected, Niulang decided to chase after them. Unfortunately, the Queen Mother of the West drew the Milky Way across the sky to block his path. Niulang and the weaver’s love moved the Emperor of Heaven, however, and he allowed the couple to meet on the Magpie Bridge once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This would become the origin of the Qixi Festival.

Observing Chinese Valentine’s Day

Chinese Valentine’s Day is observed in a number of different ways, depending on where it is celebrated. Traditionally, one of the ways this holiday was celebrated was by women showing off their dexterity by threading a needle under the moonlight, carving exotic flowers or animals, or carving unusual birds.

Another way this holiday is observed is by offering the Weaver Fairy, the star Vega, a table of treats. Treats include wine, fruits, longans, nuts such as peanuts or hazelnuts, melon seeds, and tea. Another tradition, usually practiced in rural areas, is placing bunches of wildflowers on the horns of oxen to honor them.

Of course, many of the above-listed ways to celebrate this holiday are considered old-fashioned. Nowadays, this holiday is increasingly celebrated in much the same way as American Valentine’s Day is celebrated. People give chocolates, flowers, and other presents to their sweethearts.

Where is it celebrated?
China (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 10 Saturday
Next year (2025)
August 29 Friday
Last year (2023)
August 22 Tuesday