Happy Valentine’s Day!

Did you know that the Chinese have a lovely story about Valentine’s Day? Here is the short version:

Chinese Valentine’s Day is on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. A love story for this day is about the 7th daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and an orphaned cowherd. The Emperor separated them. The 7th daughter was forced to move to the star Vega and the cowherd moved to the star Altair. They are allowed to meet only once a year on the day of 7th day of 7th lunar month.

The full story is here:

The story began with a good-looking poor orphaned boy living with his elder brother and sister-in-law. After his parents passed away his brother inherited the house and the land. The boy owned an old ox and needed him to work on the farm’s field everyday. He was called a cowherd.

The 7th daughter of Emperor was good at handcrafting, especially weaving clothing. So she was called a Weaving Maid. The Emperor liked her to use her skill to weave clouds and rainbows to beautify the world.

The ox was actually an immortal from Heaven. He made mistakes in Heaven and was punished as an ox on Earth. One day, the ox suddenly said to the cowherd, “You are a nice person. If you want to get married, go to the brook and your wish will be come true.” The cowherd went to the brook and saw all 7 pretty daughters of Emperor come down from Heaven and to bathe in the brook. Fascinated by the youngest and most beautiful one, he took away her clothes secretly. The other six daughters left after bathing. The youngest couldn’t fly back without her clothes. Then the cowherd appeared and told her that he would not return her clothes unless she promised to be his wife. After a little hesitation and with a mixture of shyness and eagerness, she agreed to the request from this handsome man. So they married and had two children two years later.

One day, the old ox was dying and he told the old cowherd that he should keep his hide for emergency purposes.

The Emperor did not find the sky as beautiful without the 7th daughter weaving clouds and rainbows. He wanted his daughter’s grandmother to find her and to bring her back. While the 7th princess was flying to the Heaven with her grandmother, the cowboy wore the ox hide, took his children in two bamboo baskets with his wife’s old fairy clothes and chased after his wife in the sky. The grandmother made a milky way in the sky with her hairpin, which kept them separated. The 7th princess was moved to the star Vega (The swooping – Eagle) in the Lyra (Harp) constellation. The cowherd stayed with his two children in the star Altair (Flying one) in the Aquila (Eagle) constellation. The star of Vega is also known as the Weaving Maid Star and the star of Altair is as the Cowherd Star in China.

Magpies were moved by their true love and many of them gathered and formed a bridge for the couple to meet in the evening of the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, which is the day the Emperor allowed them to meet once a year.

Today it is said that it is difficult to find a magpie on Chinese Valentine’s Day because all magpies fly to make the bridge for the Weaving Maid and Cowherd. The one thing to prove that is the feathers on the head of the magpies are much fewer after Chinese Valentine’s Day. If it rains the night Chinese Valentine’s Day the rain are believed to be the tears of the Weaving Maid and the Cowherd.