Qixi, the Chinese valentine’s day, falls annually on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Qixi is also known as the festival to “pray for dexterity”. On this day, especially in ancient China, females would pray to Zhinu, the goddess of weaving, wishing for wisdom and dexterity in skills like spinning, weaving and sewing. In our previous programs, we introducedJingxiu (Beijing embroidery), Miao embroidery and Li brocade, whose techniques all reflect the dexterity of females.
In many countries around the world, embroidery with respective features are important festival ornaments, sometimes they even play a significant role in celebration rituals. For example, people in India believe that shisha embroidery, a type of embroidery which attaches small pieces of mirrors, could help them dodge the eyesight of devils, while flicking bad luck away. Therefore, shisha embroidery is indispensable during Navratri in India.
Capable of making various gourmet food is also included in the definition of “dexterity”. In China, a pastry called Qiao Guo is the traditional food for Qixi. Made from oil, flour, sugar and honey, Qiao Guo come in various shapes. People usually string these pastries together and put them around children’s necks, wishing the kids would grow dexterous too.
Unique desserts are a crucial part in many countries. Though cultures vary, people share their wish for happiness and good luck via such desserts.
In ancient times, people had many other activities to celebrate Qixi. For example, girls would catch a little spider, keep it in a box for a night, and see how well it would weave — if a rather dense net was weaved, it means the prayer would be blessed with more dexterity, and vice versa. Girls would also thread needles to pray for dexterity: In the moonlight, whoever first finishes threading a seven-holed or even nine-holed needle will “win dexterity”.
On Qixi, Chinese females do various activities about needlework as a wish to become more dexterous. But do you know that there is another traditional Chinese festival, during which needlework is forbidden? We’ll talk about it in future programs!
監 制：戴 凡
編 導：吳婧 白玥 孫磊 佟明月