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Qixi Festival 2024: Celebrate Chinese Valentine's Day

Qixi Festival, also known as Double Seventh Festival or Chinese Valentine's Day, has been a traditional Chinese romantic festival for over 2,000 years.

The Qixi Festival, 七夕节 (Qīxījié) in Chinese, pronounced /chee-sshee-jyeah/, is named after the seventh day of the seventh lunar month in the traditional Chinese calendar. In Chinese, qi means 'seven(th)', xi means 'sunset(s)', and jie 'festival', so it's literally the 'Seventh Sunset Festival'.

In 2024, Qixi Festival falls on August 10 (Saturday). There is no public holiday.

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Why Is Qixi Festival Celebrated in China?

The Qixi Festival is celebrated to commemorate the tale of love between a cowherd, Niulang, and a weaver girl, Zhinü.

Legend has it that in a celestial realm, Niulang and Zhinü, who were a god and a goddess, fell deeply in love. However, the laws of heaven forbade their union. Zhinü, the granddaughter of the Queen Mother, was punished by being forced to weave beautiful clouds as her daily task.

Niulang was sent down to Earth. As a farmer, Niulang grew up as an orphan, enduring mistreatment from his brother and sister-in-law. He had only an old ox as his companion, working hard in the fields to barely make ends meet. However, with the help of the ox (a demoted cattle god), Niulang and Zhinü finally reunited on Earth, got married, and had a son and a daughter.

Upon discovering their secret, the furious Queen Mother took Zhinü back to heaven and separated the couple by a river of stars (the Milky Way), but magpies were allowed to form a bridge for them to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Their yearly meeting on the day of the Qixi Festival remains a testament to their enduring love.

Qixi Festival Story

How Is Qixi Festival Celebrated?

The festival has been celebrated since the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Many of the traditional customs are disappearing or are no longer observed. You are more likely to find the following customs practiced in rural areas.

Celebrating the Qixi Festival in Traditional Times

  • Threading skills were the most popular custom for women to show during the evening of the Qixi Festival. The long-standing tradition to show threading skills was to speedily thread a needle under the moonlight. If someone could thread seven needle holes without faltering, they were considered to have a skillful hand.
  • Worshiping the Weaver Fairy, Zhinü (worshipped as the star Vega), involved a table of offerings: tea, wine, fruits, longans, red dates, hazelnuts, peanuts, and melon seeds. In the evening young women sat around the table, displaying their needlework, gazing at Vega, and praying for a good husband and a happy life. Then they'd play games or read poems until midnight.
  • Honoring oxen: Children picked bunches of wildflowers and hung them on the horns of oxen in honor of the legendary ox.
  • Eating Qixi Festival food: During the Qixi Festival, people enjoyed a variety of delicious food that held special significance. People made and ate 'skill fruit' or qiǎo guǒ, which were fried, thin pastries in different shapes.
    Another popular food was the 'flower melon'. Young women also carved exotic flowers, animals, and unusual birds, usually on the skin of melons.
    Some sweet desserts, such as sweet rice cakes and red bean soup, were also popular.

Celebrating the Qixi Festival in Modern Times

Nowadays, people commonly celebrate Chinese Valentine's Day by exchanging gifts, such as flowers, chocolates, jewelry, handmade crafts, and other presents, with their loved ones. They also enjoy romantic dates that may include special outings, scenic walks, or intimate dinners, rather than strictly adhering to traditional customs.

Qixi Festival Dates (2023–2025)

The date is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, so it's about 21 to 51 days after the Gregorian month 7 day 7 date, i.e. roughly in the period from July 28th to August 28th. In China, the Qixi Festival is not officially recognized as a public holiday. However, it is still widely celebrated among young couples and lovers.

Year Date
2023 August 22
2024 August 10
2025 August 29

What is the difference between Valentine's Day and the Qixi Festival?

The Qixi Festival and Valentine's Day are both celebrations of love, but they originate from different cultural traditions and have distinctive characteristics.

Cultural backgrounds:

The Qixi Festival has its roots in Chinese folklore and mythology. It is mostly celebrated in East Asian countries, such as China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Valentine's Day has Western origins that can be traced back to ancient Roman and Christian traditions. It is widely celebrated around the world.


Valentine's Day commemorates the death of St. Valentine, a Christian martyr who performed weddings for soldiers and was executed by a tyrant.

The Qixi Festival originates from Chinese folklore and is based on the legendary tale of Niulang and Zhinü, two separated lovers.


The Qixi Festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar. This means that the date varies each year in accordance with the lunar calendar.

Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th each year, so Valentine's Day is consistent globally.

Customs and traditions:

Traditions of the Qixi Festival include making wishes and paying homage to the mythical lovers. Activities like stargazing, creating shaped fruit, and praying for love and happiness are also part of the celebrations.

Valentine's Day is celebrated with the exchange of gifts, cards, flowers, and romantic gestures. It often focuses on couples expressing affection for each other.

Qixi Festival Greetings, Quotes, and Wishes

Qixi Festival Greetings

1. During Qixi Festival, may love and happiness encircle your heart.

Zài Qī xī jié lǐ, zhù yuàn ài hé zhù fú yíng rào xīn jiān.

2. May Qixi evening's stars bring you eternal happiness and bliss.

Yuàn Qī xī yè wǎn de fán xīng yǔ nǐ yǒng héng de xìng fú yǔ xǐ yuè.

3. May you and your beloved's shared love shine brighter than Qixi evening's stars .

Zhù yuàn nín yǔ bàn lǚ zhī jiān de ài qíng bǐ Qī xī yè wǎn de fán xīng gèng cuǐ càn shǎn yào.

4. Wishing you a Qixi Festival filled with love, romance, and beautiful moments.

Zhù fú nín zài Qī xī jié dù guò chōng mǎn ài yǔ làng màn de měi hǎo shí kè.

5. May Qixi Festival's romance bring you and your loved one more intimacy and fill your lives with everlasting happiness.

Yuàn Qī xī jié de làng màn néng ràng nín yǔ ài rén gèng qīnmì, ràng nǐ men de shēng huó xìng fú yǒng jiǔ.

6. May our love be as profound as Niulang and Zhinü's legend. Happy Qixi Festival!

Yuàn wǒ men de ài qíng rú niú láng zhī nǚ de chuán shuō yī yàng juàn yǒng. Qī xī jié kuài lè!

7. Our love is a story inscribed on the stars, destined to shine brightly for eternity.

Wǒ men de ài qíng shì míng zhōng zhù dìng, zhù dìng yǒng héng shǎn yào.

8. On this romantic occasion, I want to be a gentle breeze to comfort your soul, bringing you peace and joy.

Zài zhège làng màn de jié rì lǐ, wǒ xiǎng huà shēn wéi wēn róu de wēi fēng, ān fǔ nǐde xīn líng, wèi nǐ dài lái níng jìng hé huān yú.

9. On this love-filled festival, my every heartbeat whispers your name: only you make my life complete.

Zài zhège chōng mǎn ài de jié rì lǐ, wǒ de měi yī cì xīn tiào dōu xiàng zài qīng shēng niàn nǐ de míng zì, zhǐ yǒu nǐ ràng wǒ de shēng mìng dé yǐ wán zhěng.
在这个充满爱的节日里,我的每一次心跳都像在轻声念你的名字, 只有你让我的生命得以完整。

What Are Other Romantic Festivals in China?

Romantic Festival

Chinese people celebrate a variety of romantic festivals, which stem from a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures as well as commercial influences. The following is a chronological list of these celebrations:

  • The Lantern Festival or Yuanxiao Festival: Occurring on the 15th day of the Chinese lunar year (in the period Feb. 4 – Mar. 6), it is an ancient type of Valentine's Day when young people traditionally admired lanterns together.
  • Western Valentine's Day: Celebrated on February 14th, it is a well-known day of love and romance influenced by Western traditions.
  • The Shangsi Festival: Taking place on the third day of the third lunar month (in the period Mar. 24 – Apr. 22), this festival has been cherished since ancient times as a romantic occasion for going out and expressing heartfelt emotions.
  • Western Valentine's Day: Celebrated on February 14th, it is a well-known day of love and romance influenced by Western traditions.
  • White Day: Held on March 14th, this day provides an opportunity for reciprocating gestures of love and appreciation received on Valentine's Day. It is also influenced by Western traditions.
  • 5-20 (Wǔ-èr ling): Falling on May 20th, the pronunciation of 'five-two-zero' in Chinese is similar to saying 'I love you', and this festival was created for commercial purposes in modern times.
  • Singles' Day, celebrated on November 11th (the date with the most '1's), was initially created for single people to focus on self-love, but it later transformed into a commercial event that encourages people to indulge in shopping. Single individuals seek to unburden themselves and potentially find love during the festival, similar to Wǔ-èr ling.
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