Wo Ai Ni from China

August 13th, 2013 by Tatiana

I know I haven’t done anything on here for a very long time and I have so much to write about. It  appears that I have so much going and that I have more photos than the time to sort them all out and put them on here. Or maybe it’s just an excuse for me being undisciplined… As soon as I am back from China, I have huge plans for many posts on here.

After being in Shanghai , I am finally in Beijing and have a very exciting weeks ahead – Beijing, Zhangjiajie National Forest, Fenghuang, Guilin, Yangshuo…I am very excited and happy to be exploring China.

What made me write on here today? I have learnt something interesting and I would like to share it. So, the first day in Beijing started with Chinese Valentine’s Day, or Qi Qiao Jie. I thought the whole world celebrated  Valentine’s Day on February 14th and what a pleasant surprise it was today to discover that in China it falls on a different day.

It actually falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month which means that it is not celebrated on the same day every year. The love story for this day is about Zhinu,  the 7th daughter of Emperor of Heaven, and an orphaned cowherd Niulang. The emperor separated them and the 7th daughter was forced to move to the star Vega whilst the cowherd moved to the star Altair. They were allowed to meet only once a year- on the 7th day of 7th lunar month when a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite the lovers for one day, that’s why it is also known as Double Seventh Festival.

People in love, especially young girls, go to the temple and pray for their love or the possible marriage, single people pray for their luck of love. During the festival, girls display their domestic skills. Traditionally, there would be contests amongst young girls who attempted to be the best in threading needles under low-light conditions. Single and newly-wed women make offerings to Niulang and Zhinü, which may include fruit, flowers, tea, and face powder. After finishing the offerings, half of the face powder is thrown on the roof and the other half divided among the young women. It is believed that by doing this, the women are bound in beauty with Zhinü. Tales say that it will rain on this fateful day if there’s crying in heaven. Other tales say that you can hear the lovers talking if you stand under grapevines on this night.

copyP1060319

Zhinu & Niulang

I wonder if these traditions are kept in modern China, especially when I just heard on TV that getting high quality roses from famous luxury flower brands is considered “one and only true love”.

I must admit I didn’t realise it was Valentine’s Day until the evening when at a restaurant we were given “Valentine’s menu”. In England you cannot miss Valentine’s celebrations as the shops start selling cards and chocolates valentine’s gifts well before the actual day.I didnt notice anything neither in Shanghai nor in Beijing. During the day  I saw some people dressed as white angels and this beautiful sign being covered with love notes.

IMG_7034

pronounced “ai” means “love” in Chinese, but I am still trying to find out what these three characters mean

P1060338

Later on at Solitun village we saw many vendors selling roses and inflated balloons. S got me this teddy which we called Yu Yu – the name came from the first shop we saw.

IMG_7062Me and Yu Yu

P1060329

我 爱 你 (Wo ai Ni) = I love you in Mandarin

How cool is that to be celebrating Valentine’s Day twice a year!

P1060352

P1060355

Leave a Reply