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Tomorrow is Chinese Valentine's Day (Suzhou)

Protected content qíngrénjié
Protected content 国 情 人 节

VALENTINE'S Day in China, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, falls on August 20th this year.
That is, on Thursday evening, Niu Lang and Zhi Nv will meet on a bridge of magpies(鹊桥)across the Milky Way(银河). Chinese grannies will remind children that they would not be able to see any magpies on that evening because all the magpies have left to form a bridge in the heavens with their wings.

Romantic legend

The legend has been handed down for nearly 2 millennia. The story has been recorded as far back as the Jin Dynasty ( Protected content ). Poets composed hundreds of verses on the love story and many types of Chinese opera tell the story.
The Chinese people believe that the star Vega(织女星), east of the Milky Way, is Zhi Nv and, at the constellation of Aquila(天鹰座), on the western side of the Milky Way, Niu Lang waits for his wife.

Zhi Nv was said to be the youngest of seven daughters of the Queen of Heaven. With her sisters, she worked hard to weave beautiful clouds in the sky, while Niu Lang was a poor orphan cowherd, driven out of his home by his elder brother and his cruel wife.Niu Lang lamented over his lonely and poor life with an old cow, his only friend and companion.
The magical cow kindly told him of a way to find a beautiful and nice woman as his life companion. Under the direction of the cow, Niu Lang went to the riverside on an evening, where the seven fairies slipped out of their heavenly palace to bathe.
He took one of the beautiful silk dresses the fairies had left on the bank. When the fairies left the water, the youngest couldn't find her clothes and had to see her sisters fly back to heaven without her.
Then Niu Lang came out with the dress and asked the youngest fairy, Zhi Nv, to stay with him.
Several years passed on Earth, which were only a few days in heaven. Niu Lang and Zhi Nv lived happily together and had two children before the Queen of Heaven discovered Zhi Nv's absence.
She was so annoyed she had Zhi Nv brought back to heaven. Seeing his beloved wife flying in the sky, Niu Lang was terrified. He caught sight of the cowhide hanging on a wall. The magical cow had told him before dying of old age: "Keep the cowhide(牛皮) for emergency use."
Putting the cowhide on, he went after his wife with his two children. With the help of the cowhide, Niu Lang was able to follow Zhi Nv into heaven.

He was about to reach his wife when the Queen showed up and pulled off her hairpin to draw a line between the two. The line became the Silver River in heaven, or the Milky Way.
Zhi Nv went back to the heavenly workshop, going on weaving the clouds. But she was so sad, and missed her husband across the Silver River so much that the clouds she weaved seemed sad. Finally, the Queen showed a little mercy, allowing the couple to meet once every year on the Silver River.

Well-known poem

One of the most famous poems about the legend was written by Qin Guan(秦观) of the Song Dynasty ( Protected content ).
Fairy Of The Magpie Bridge
Among the beautiful clouds,
Over the heavenly river,
Crosses the weaving maiden.
A night of rendezvous,
Across the autumn sky.
Surpasses joy on earth.
Moments of tender love and dream,
So sad to leave the magpie bridge.
Eternal love between us two,
Shall withstand the time apart.
(Translated by Kylie Hsu)
Quèqiáoxiān
鹊桥 仙
Zhī yún nòngqiâo,
织云 弄 巧,
Fēi xīng chuánhèn,
飞 星 传 恨,
Yínhàn tiáotiáoàndù。
银汉 迢迢 暗度。
Jīnfēng yùlù yìxiāngféng,
金风 玉露一相 逢,
Biàn shèngquèrénjiān wúshù。
便 Protected content 却 人间 无数。
Róuqíng sì shuî ,
柔 情 似水,
Jiāqī rú mèng,
佳期 如 梦,
Rên gù quèqiáoguī lù。
忍顾鹊桥归路。
Liângqíngruòshì chángjiû shí,
两 情 若是 长 久 时,
Yòu qî zàizhāozhāomùmù。
又 岂在 朝 朝 暮 暮。

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