Qixi Festival, also known as Magpie Festival or Chinese Valentine’s Day, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar; thus its name.
It also inspired Tanabata (aka. Shichiseki [七夕]) in Japan, Chilseok (칠석) in Korea, and vi:Thất Tịch in Vietnam.
Young girls traditionally demonstrate their domestic arts, especially melon carving, on this day and make wishes for a good husband.
Read the story behind Chinese Valentine’s Day here.
Qixi / Chinese Valentine’s Day Traditions
On Qi Xi, a festoon is placed in the yard and the single or newly married women in the household make an offering to Niulang and Zhinü consisting of fruit, flowers, tea, and facial powder (makeup). After finishing the offering, half of the facial powder is thrown on the roof and the other half divided among the young women of the household. It is believed that by doing this, the women are bound in beauty with Zhinü.
Another tradition is for young girls to throw a sewing needle into a bowl full of water on the night of Qi Xi as a test of embroidery skills. If the needle floats on top of the water instead of sinking, it proves the girl is a skilled embroideress.