Culture >Distinctive Culture
The Qixi Festival
The Qixi Festival, otherwise known as the Qiqiao Festival, celebrates the annual meeting of a cowherd and weaver-girl in Chinese mythology. Originating in the Han Dynasty, this traditional festival is popular in China and other countries of Chinese influence. As the stories go, on lunar July 7th or June 6th, a woman begged Vega for wisdom, and the day was henceforth named “Qiqiao”. The festival began as a worship of nature, but later the legend of the weaver-girl and cowherd turned it into a symbol of love. On May 20th of 2015, the Qixi Festival was added by the State Council to the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Chinese couple's 'lightning marriage' after four-hour courtship

How long does it take to realise that you have met your life partner? In the case of one couple, whose "lightning marriage" has captivated Chinese social media, it was apparently just four hours. Until this week Tang Xi and Zhang Yan had, for three years, been not-very-close colleagues at a transport company in the city of Chongqing. He works in the administration department and she in the finance office. They had apparently not spoken much, let alone dated. That all changed on Monday evening when they were seated next to each other at works dinner, and by the time Tang Xi had walked her home four hours later, Zhang Yan had proposed and he had accepted. Image copyright Weibo Image caption A photo of the couple's marriage certificate was widely shared on social media The next morning he was round at 8am to meet her parents and at 11am the couple married, on the day of the Qixi festival which is also known as the Chinese Valentine's Day. As a popular Chinese language song says: love comes as quickly as a tornado! A photo of the newlyweds' marriage certificate has been widely shared on the Chinese social media network Weibo. A hashtag which means "Spending 4 hours together, deciding to have a 'lightning marriage'" has been trending. Many internet users wondered what exactly happened in those four hours. The question was posed in a meme which adapted a photo of the popular swimmer Fu Yuanhui's surprised facial expression when she discovered she had won an Olympic medal. Image copyright Weibo Image caption "Who knows what happened during those four hours?" According to an interview Tang Xi and Zhang Yan gave to a local TV station, the two thirtysomething singletons bonded by sharing stories of similarly embarrassing experiences of being under huge and increasing pressure from their parents to get married.. to somebody! When Tang Xi walked Zhang Yan home, Zhang Yan joked and asked Tang Xi if he would dare marry her. Tang Xi said yes and he believed that it was his fate. Tang Xi admitted that he had only had a few girlfriends before, but had never had the impulse to get married. He said, 'I've finally found you. I'm so glad that I waited.' As for Zhang Yan, she had been trying to find the perfect man, but once she turned 30, she felt she had been too picky before. Now having found a suitable partner, she felt she should grasp the opportunity and so she took the uncommon decision to propose herself. Many who commented on social media expressed their admiration for the couple's courage and sent their congratulations. One Weibo user called Chierdaxian wrote: "I also want to have a 'lightning marriage.'" Another person who clearly believed it only takes a second to fall in love, commented: "Nothing is surprising. Marriage is only the beginning but not the end." But others also expressed concern and thought the couple's behaviour was too impulsive. Bigbirdsmallbird wrote on Weibo: "I just want to know if the marriage will last more than 4 years." An account in the name of Mengmu raised the question, "From no girl friend to having a wife, it only takes 4 hours. Is it because of being scared of being forced to get married?" Another user expressed the hopes the newlyweds wouldn't also get divorced within a similarly short space of time. Someone, called XieWeidan and who had clearly been unlucky in love, sighed that " Look at them, have a 'lightning marriage' in 4 hours! I've spent 20 years looking for a marriage partner and still can't find one." Chongqing sociologist Tan Gangqiang commented: "It's hard to say if a lightning marriage is a good thing or not. Some people feel happy and others choose divorce quickly. But people should be calm when making such a decision and should be more tolerant and patient with each other, and then a lightning marriage can last longer."

China marks Qixi lovers' festival

Lovers in China look set for a romantic summer with a traditional Valentines festival due to take place twice. The Qixi festival, which celebrates the thwarted love of a cowherd and a weaver, has come to be regarded as China's own Valentine's Day. It takes place on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar, this year falling on 31 July. But because of a leap month in the lunar calendar, Qixi will occur twice this year. The festival's organisation committee said it is the 12th time in the past 2,000 years that people are able to celebrate the day twice in one year, the China Daily reported. 'Traditional values' The festival is based on the tale of two young lovers separated by a goddess and turned into stars. The lovers, the stars Altair and Vega, are separated by a wide river, the Milky Way. A mass wedding in Changchun on 30 July Events have been held across China But on one night each year, when the stars are at their closest point to each other, the tale says the two lovers can cross the river and be reunited. "The Qixi festival expresses the traditional values of love in China that lovers should live to a ripe age together and be faithful to each other no matter what difficulties they encounter," said Feng Jicai of the Chinese Folk Literature and Arts Society. While Qixi is not as commercial as the Western Valentine's date of 14 February, which is also celebrated in China, sales of flowers were up, one florist told Reuters news agency. Matchmaking parties were held in a number of Chinese cities, including one in Nanjing which attracted more than 10,000 young people. A gate in the city was decorated with around 770,000 paper birds to mark the festival. In the north-eastern city of Changchun, 23 couples got married in a joint wedding ceremony. The festival is also celebrated in Japan on 7 July, where it is known as Tanabata.

Jon Bon Jovi takes on Chinese classic love song

Jon Bon Jovi has become the latest Western pop star to woo the Chinese market, singing what is arguably the most famous Chinese love song ever. The BBC analyses his attempt. The music video, set in a recording studio, starts in soft focus as the soulful opening strains of The Moon Represents My Heart cue up. Then, Jon Bon Jovi's familiar gravelly voice fades in. "Ni wen wo ai ni you duo shen, wo ai ni you ji fen..." croons the American rock star in somewhat intelligible Mandarin. "Jon put a lot of thought on choosing the right song for his Chinese fans," reads a statement on his website announcing the video. Shot through the heart Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The American rock star is set to do a series of concerts across Asia in September The rocker clearly has big ambitions by taking on The Moon Represents My Heart - the song ranks as one of the greatest love ballads and is a beloved karaoke staple for older Chinese people. The plaintive ballad, popularised by Taiwanese superstar Teresa Teng in 1977, is sung from the perspective of a woman whose love is being questioned - her answer is that her love is as eternal as the moon. You ask me how deeply I love you, how much I love you My feelings are real, my love is also real, the moon represents my heart You ask me how deeply I love you, how much I love you My feelings will never move, my love will never change, the moon represents my heart The gentlest of kisses has opened my heart The deepest of love affairs, I think about it till today You ask me how deeply I love you, how much I love you Just think about it, just take a look, the moon represents my heart The song is closely identified with Ms Teng though she was not the original singer, and this is one reason why it remains so popular particularly in China. Ms Teng's career took off in Asia in the late 1970s just as Communist China began to open up, and she quickly became a household name in the mainland. After years of suppression of pop music, the spread of her ballads marked one of the first encounters mainland Chinese had with the "decadent" modern music of the outside world. Many listened to her in secret and pirated her music, despite a government ban. Gift of love Jon Bon Jovi's statement said he chose the "heart-warming classic for Chinese fans as a gift on Chinese Valentine's Day". But there are actually two Chinese Valentine's Days. One is Qixi Festival, which falls on 20 August this year. It marks the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, and is linked to the legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl - star-crossed lovers who remain separated but reunite one day every year. Image copyright China Foto Press Image caption A Hubei TV station staged a promotional stunt for its variety show on Wednesday with male actors playing the role of the Cowherd on the streets of Wuhan city The other Valentine's Day is Yuanxiao Festival, which marks the end of the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations. Crowd-pleaser It's no coincidence that the video was released ahead of Jon Bon Jovi's Asia tour in September, where he'll be playing in China for the first time. He is also performing in other places with significant Chinese populations such as Macau, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. While Western pop stars regularly play in Asia, it's rare for them to sing in Mandarin - but it's a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and helps to boost their profile. In February 2013, Celine Dion wowed audiences when she sang the folk song Jasmine Flower for the CCTV Chinese New Year Gala. It is said to be the most watched television show in the world, with hundreds of millions in mainland China and Mandarin speakers in other countries tuning in every year. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Celine Dion is best known in China and elsewhere in Asia for her 1997 hit My Heart Will Go On Just speaking in Mandarin is enough for a Western personality to win fans over in China, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg found when he spoke to university students in October - though he received more mixed reviews. 'Quite sincere' So how have the Chinese taken to Jon Bon Jovi's attempt? It hasn't generated much buzz on microblogging network Weibo - yet - but initial reviews appear to be positive, with many moved by his attempt to sing in Mandarin. The music video features several shots of the 53-year-old looking stumped as he ploughs through the song and practises his pronunciation. At one point, a woman who appears to be his Mandarin tutor gives him an encouraging thumbs-up. "Bon Jovi's too hardworking, he's given us Chinese fans a nice Qixi surprise... you can see in the video that he's continually trying to get the lyrics right, it's quite sincere," noted popular Weibo blogger Eargod. Other fans were more circumspect. Said user Zhufuaguai: "Even though it sounds horrible, it's still Bon Jovi - and that's enough for me."

Knowledge Graph

1 To celebrate this Saturday's Qixi Festival, known as Chinese Valentine's Day, big screens in China will offer a gift for audiences: a touching romance epic.

2 To celebrate this Saturday's Qixi Festival, known as Chinese Valentine's Day, big screens in China will offer a gift for audiences: a touching romance epic.

3 The Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine's Day, falls on Aug. 6 this year. On the day, people of the Li and Miao ethnic groups here usually observe the tradtion to splash water over their lovers, express their affection through water.