The Qixi Festival celebrates the annual rendezvous between a fairy and a human whose love was forbidden in Chinese mythology. /CGTN Photo
The history of the festival dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC -220 A.D.). Legend has it that girls at that time prayed for creativity to the god Vega on the night of the seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese lunar calendar. This tradition has since passed on to later generations.
In another Chinese legend, a cowherd and a weaver girl, once a happy couple, moved into the heavens where they became stars separated by the Milky Way. They can meet only once a year when magpies fly together to form a bridge that brings them together. Their meeting also falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, and so, the Double Seven Festival came into being.
Since ancient times, many traditions have been used to commemorate the festival. For example, the girls would keep a spider in a small box on that day and check the web the spider weaved the next day. The denser the web is, the more creativity they can receive. The maids in the Imperial palace would compete to thread needles during the festival, and the one who finished first would be awarded with creativity. People also float needles to pray for more creativity.
In modern times, there're still a lot of folk customs celebrate for the Double Seven Festival.
Women living in the plateau area of northwest China's Shaanxi Province usually bundle up straw men and dress them in beautiful clothes. They also make paper cuttings to compete to see who has the cleverest hands.
In the rural areas of east China's Zhejiang Province, people collect dew with washbowls, and wash their hands with it as they wish for their hands to be more flexible. The dew is said to be the tears of the cowherd and the weaver girl.
In southern Zhejiang, people make special foods to mark the occasion, including dumplings, noodles, and wontons.
In south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, people tie seven knots with a red cord, and wear it round the neck to bring health and happiness.
People in Japan and South Korea also honor the Double Seven Festival. As well as praying for greater creativity, they offer sacrifices to gods or their ancestors as well.