Valentine's Day sometimes gets a bad rap for being overly commercialized here in the U.S., doesn't it? If you agree, you're gonna love this: Chinese Valentine's Day, which falls on August 2, 2014, is an entirely different kind of romantic holiday -- and we love it, too.
Don't get us wrong -- we enjoy our traditional American Valentine's Day, and we're not going to turn down chocolates or flowers come February 14. But the imaginative folklore behind Chinese Valentine's Day is inspired by a more cosmic connection.
In China, this day devoted to love falls on Qi Qiao Jie, also known as the seventh eve, which refers to the position of the stars on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. In 2014, that's August 2.
There are two legends about what inspired Chinese Valentine's Day. In the first, a young cowherd spots the seven daughters of the Goddess of Heaven on a visit to Earth. He sees the girls bathing in a river and decides to run off with their clothing (naughty young man!), and when the oldest daughter goes to ask him to return the clothing he sees her naked and has no choice but to marry her. Eventually she is sent back to heaven by her angry mother, but she is allowed to return to Earth to see her husband once a year -- on the seventh night of the seventh Moon.
In the second story, the same two lovers are fairies living on opposite sides of the galaxy, and the Jade Emperor of Heaven felt sorry for them and brought them together. Except once they were together they became so enraptured with one another that they didn't get any work done, so the Jade Emperor decided they could only meet once a year.
Now, that one day of the year the lovers spend together is celebrated as Chinese Valentine's Day, when lovers meet and stargaze upon the star Vega and the constellation Aquila, which represent the two lovers forever separated on opposite sides of the Milky Way galaxy.
Kind of bittersweet, isn't it? And we're not talking about heart-shaped chocolate.
We recommend celebrating Chinese Valentine's Day by running our Free Chinese Compatibility Report for you and your sweetie -- or the object of your affection.
See? On some romantic holidays, love don't cost a thing.
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