14 February 2017 by Stephanie Henwood
Today here in the UK, amongst many others, we celebrate Valentine’s day; February 14th each year marks the day that we honour our lovers and express our affection through gift. Widely presented as flowers, confectionary and greetings cards.
Traditionally, the day symbolises an admiration for early saints such as St Valentinus. It is a recognised and significant celebration across cultures throughout the world but is not a marked public holiday.
China is one of the few countries that do not traditionally celebrate Valentine’s day on February 14th. Instead, we celebrate our romantic attachments on 7th day of the 7th month each year. Our lunar calendar does change from year to year which is why, unlike the Western Solar calendar, there is no set day. Rather an instruction on when each festival should fall. This can become a little confusing for those, like myself, that are used to the western calendar. But I suspect the same be said for Easterners and the Solar calendar…
Chinese Valentine’s day is known as Double Seventh Day and we hold a festival named ‘Qixi Festival’ which is a celebration of the annual meeting of the cowherd and the weaver girl – a legend from ancient Chinese Mythology about two lovers.
On Double Seventh Day we enjoy feasts with our loved ones such as steamed spring rolls and sweet rice balls. And just like us here in the UK, we present our romantic attachments with displays of affection.
What are you doing this Valentine’s day and what will you be doing on 7th day of the 7th month this year? Take the time to ask your Chinese friend or neighbour what their plans are – I bet there are similarities to your Feb 14th!