Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day, is coming up (this year August 7). If you’re a fan of TV series — and enjoy watching in Chinese — consider sweetening up the holiday with one of these new Chinese shows, as featured in the China Daily article Romantic dramas a sweet TV treat for Qixi:
In the past, realistic or tragic TV dramas dominated the Chinese TV market. But this year has seen a big shift as more viewers, especially young women, are turning to sweet romantic dramas with a happy ending.
All of these TV dramas have a similar format. The leading male and female characters are very outstanding in their studies and careers, and have rarely had romantic relationships before they meet. Usually, they fall in love with each other at first sight or after they clear up some misunderstandings. And the couple continues to show affection through the drama.
Anyone whose guilty TV pleasures happen to include romantic, lighthearted picks (such as movies from Netflix or Hallmark) should find something to love in the 10 recommended TV series in the article, which include Gank Your Heart (陪你到世界之巅), the TV series featured in the image above.
Those of you studying Mandarin might also give these TV series a try. After all, some of the best learning aids are those that make it fun! When I started out, I spent a lot of evenings engrossed in TV series about young people falling in love. My desire to understand everything on screen pushed me to learn more Chinese words and characters. (After all, how else will you know why they’re breaking up or who has a crush on who?) 😉
As the sultry days of August are upon us, there’s another celebration ready to heat things up, especially among lovers and couples. The Qixi Festival, also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day or the Double-Sevens Festival (because it falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar — Aug 7 in 2019), is a traditional Chinese holiday that has surged in popularity in recent years.
If you happen to have someone special in your life, how should you celebrate Qixi Festival? What are some popular gifts for Qixi Festival? Here are a few ideas I’ve culled together, whether you’re making purchases or plans or just curious about this Chinese Valentine’s Day.
Qixi Festival: Popular Gifts
If there’s anyone who knows what people usually buy for Qixi Festival, it’s China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, and here’s what they found in an article in China Daily: “Alibaba claims that the number of people searching key words such as flowers, roses, and chocolates on online shopping websites increases dramatically around Qixi.”
In other words, your Valentine’s Day standards make for excellent gifts for Qixi Festival, if you’re buying for someone special, like a girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife.
There’s a gorgeous cake frosted in pink with special Qixi Festival greetings written on the top, which could inspire you to give your loved one a sweet surprise – a cake or dessert — for the holiday as well.
Another photo shows a boyfriend presenting his girlfriend with a gold necklace for Qixi Festival. So add jewelry – another typical gift of Valentine’s Day – to your list of possibilities.
Qixi Festival: Popular Ways to Celebrate
Have a romantic candlelit meal together
As this China Daily article notes, “Chinese people embrace their own “Valentine’s Day” Tuesday, when lovers send each other gifts or have romantic candlelit meals together.” So yes, why not make reservations for two at that restaurant in town with the breathtaking views, cozy interiors and, perhaps, a history of people getting on one knee with a ring in their hands. It may sound utterly clichéd and unoriginal, but sometimes we all crave a little something corny (and delicious!) in our lives.
And if you’re not attached yet, just gather together your closest friends – who doesn’t love an excuse for a nice meal with good company?
The story goes that once an oxherd, Niulang, and weaving girl, Zhinu, fell in love after he caught a glimpse of her bathing and stole her clothes. Instead of getting a good slap, Niulang got lucky (literally) and got married. The couple had two kids, lived happily ever after — that is, until the heavens (or, in some stories, her mother) realized their love went against natural laws: mortals and fairies cannot marry. She was banished up to the heavens forever, some say to go back to her real job of weaving the clouds. Still, Niulang loved her so much he couldn’t stay away. On the advice of an ox, he slaughtered it (let’s hope that ox got a real good deal in heaven), dressed in its hide, and then traveled up to the heavens to see her. But — aiya! — the heavens interfered by scratching a wide river in the heavens to separate the two lovers, forcing Niulang and Zhinu to stare longingly at each other from opposite banks. Then the magpies took pity on them and formed a bridge over the Milky Way on the seventh day of the seventh moon, bringing the stars together (this also happens in the Northern night sky, when the stars Altair and Vega, representing Niulang and Zhinu, get close). Thus, you have Qixi, the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
So if you’re separated from a loved one – whether a lover, spouse, relative or friend – why not follow in the footsteps of Niulang and Zhinu and reunite for the Qixi Festival? These Chinese couples did just that, flying across the country to be together. But even if you can’t manage the trip, do a virtual meeting with a video call and let them know how much you care.
Wang Juan with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Peking University, said that Qixi was for young women and girls to get together, do embroidery and pray for good needlework skills which in turn would help them find a partner.
Though people today rarely do needlework, finding a mate is still an important part of the day. Traditional, commercial matchmaking events are held in parks.
So technically, you could give matchmaking a go, whether that’s attending a speed-dating event, giving online dating a try or even “swiping right” on someone in your dating apps.
Or you could take the holiday as a chance to reminisce: “Chen Yi, in his fifties, from Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan province, said he does not envy young people celebrating the festival, but is reminded of the good old days when he and his wife enjoyed a simple, romantic relationship.”
Do a little stargazing
Since Qixi Festival has its own celestial symbols – with the stars Altair and Vega, representing Niulang and Zhinu – you could look up at the night sky on a clear evening on or near Qixi Festival and observe the two heavenly bodies as they make their annual reunion.
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