The Legend Behind Qi Xi  

There are many variations on the tale of the peasant boy and celestial princess divided forever by the Milky Way. It is sometimes considered to be the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day but it has none of the candied heart traditions of the West. Here’s a brief synopsis of the story: A peasant boy toiling by the riverside was tipped off by his cheeky companion, the ox, that seven celestial princesses were bathing in the river. The boy sneaked over to watch and was overcome by their beauty and fell immediately in love with the youngest princess. He took her clothes and hid them and waited for the princesses to finish bathing.

The older princesses dressed and flew back to the stars but the youngest couldn’t find her clothes. The peasant boy approached and told her of his love. Flattered by the youth’s ardor, the youngest princess agreed to marry him and stay on earth. They quickly married and lived very happily and eventually had two children.

The great mother in the heavens was enraged that her youngest daughter, the one whose special job is was to weave the clouds, had been tricked into marriage by a mortal. Pulling out a hairpin, she cut a swathe in the sky that became the Milky Way. She swooped to earth and grabbed the happy family and threw them into the skies. The heavenly goddess threw her daughter to one side of the Milky Way (the star Vega) and the peasant boy on the other side (the star Altair) with his two children (Altair’s two neighbor stars).

The couple was split for all eternity. But the magpies of the world took pity on the couple. Each year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, magpies fly up to the heavens to form a bridge so that the couple can be together for one night.

Editor: Shi Liwei

Origin More
Double-Seventh Day

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Classic Sentences for Love

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