Chinese Valentine’s Day 1

Li, Qing-zhao (1081 A.D.-1154 A.D.?)

    The song of crickets among the grass startles the leaves of the phoenix tree into falling. It is the season when heaven and earth are filled with sorrow. The moon above the clouds seems to be locked within a thousand gates. Even if floating boats were to come and go, they could not reach the moon.

    The Herd-boy and the Spinning-damsel can meet only once a year over a bridge built by magpies. Their sorrow from yearning must be endless. Are they saying farewell to each other now? Why is it sometimes bright with moonlight, sometimes rainy 2, sometimes windy?

1 Chinese Valentine's Day is on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. In Chinese mythology, Chinese Valentine's Day originates from a story about the Milky Way. The Spinning-damsel, God's daughter, lives east of the Heavenly River. She is in charge of weaving colorful clouds for heavenly clothing. God appreciates her hard work and pities her living alone. Therefore, He marries her to the Herd-boy living west of the Heavenly River. Shortly after they get married, they begin to neglect their duties. This negligence irritates God. Consequently, He punishes them by changing the Herd-boy into a star in the western sky and the Spinning-damsel into the a star (Vega) in the eastern sky. They are allowed to meet each other once a year, the night of Chinese Valentine's Day. On that night, the magpies (xi-que [happy birds]) will build a heavenly bridge from east to west so that the Herd-boy and the Spinning-damsel can meet. It is these magpies that made the Milky Way we see today.

2 Rain symbolizes the tears of the Herd-boy and the Spinning-damsel.