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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in China Series at ChineseClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Chinese holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 9, Qixi Festival. In Chinese, it’s called 七夕节 (qīxī jié).
The seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar year is the Qixi Festival, or the modern Chinese Valentine’s Day. There is a well-known romantic legend which involves the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid or 牛郎织女 (niúláng zhīnǚ), which we will introduce in this lesson.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
The origin of Qixi is an astronomical phenomenon. Which astronomical phenomenon is it?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
According to the legend, the Weaving Maid lived on the east side of the galaxy. She was the daughter of the Emperor of Heaven or 天帝 (tiāndì). She worked at the loom every year. The Emperor of Heaven pitied her lonely life, so he allowed her to marry the Cowherd, who lived on the west side of the galaxy. However, after getting married, the Weaving Maid didn't weave as diligently as before. The Emperor of Heaven was furious and commanded her to return, allowing her to meet her husband only once a year. 七夕 (qīxī) July 7th, became the day when the two reunited.
It is very sad for a couple to see each other only once a year. Thus, the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid are frequently used to describe “long-distance relationships,” or 长距离恋爱 (cháng jùlí liàn ài), which refer to the situation of a couple living in different places and being unable to meet for a long time.
There are two kinds of symbolic gifts for the Qixi Festival which lovers sometimes exchange in China. They are a comb and love locket. The comb represents the promise of couples to spend their lives together. The love locket locks two heart together; it represents a commitment to eternal love.
In ancient times, people worshipped the Weaving Maid during the Qixi Festival, praying that girls would be as skillful as the Weaving Maid. People believed that if a young girl was good at weaving and making clothes, she would be a good wife in the future.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
The origin of Qixi is an astronomical phenomenon. Which astronomical phenomenon is it?
On July 7th, Vega, also known as the Weaving Maid Star, and Altair, also known as the Cowherd Star, are particularly bright. If you have time, you should check them out on that day!
What did you think of this lesson? Did you learn many interesting things?
How do you spend Valentine’s Day? Please leave a comment letting us know at ChineseClass101.com, and I'll see you in our next lesson. Bye!

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Did you already know about the Cowherd and the Weaving Maid legend?