TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Tuesday (Aug. 25) is Qixi Festival (七夕節), or Lunar Valentine's Day, in many parts of East Asia, and like other festivals in Taiwan, there are traditions to observe to ensure success in one's love life.
Qixi is also called "Double Seventh" because it falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Originally a celebration of the annual reunion of the mythical cowherd and weaver girl, it was traditionally not an occasion for gift exchanges but has in recent years become commercialized, with lists of the five best and five worst gift ideas surfacing online.
Like many other festivals in Taiwan, there are several superstitions associated with Qixi that people observe in order to ensure success in romantic relationships. As Qixi is the day that the cowherd and weaver girl meet as well as the birthday of the Seven Star Goddess (七娘母) and Bed Goddess (床母), here are seven do's and dont's to be observed.
The following list was provided by Yang Teng-kei (楊登嵙), the founding chairman of the Taichung Numerology Education Association, according to China Times:
1. Place flowers on the east side of the home
The Happiness Star (喜星) and Peach Blossom Star (桃花星) are located in the east, dominating relationships, romance, and careers. Place blooming plants or pink crystals on the east side of the home, but be sure to avoid fake flowers, large empty cabinets, or big empty vases.
2. Wash with rainwater
According to legend, when the cowherd and weaver girl were reunited, they shed tears that fell to the Earth as rain. Thus it is considered fortuitous to collect rainwater in a bowl that day and allow it to evaporate naturally.
It is also said to be good luck to wash one's face and hair with rainwater. If rainwater is not available, the best time to wash with tap water is between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
3. Apply nail polish
Qixi is also called Red Luan Day (紅鸞日), the "Luan" being a mythological bird in East Asian mythology. Young women can paint their nails on this day to increase the movement of the Hong Luan Star, thus boosting their attractiveness to the opposite sex.
As for older women, painting their nails on this day symbolizes longevity. However, be sure not to use white or black nail polish. Choose cinnabar red or maroon instead.
4. Pray to God of Romance for love
Those seeking marriage typically go to temples and pray to the God of Romance, Yue Lao (月老), and provide offerings during Qixi. These can include sweets, flowers, fruit baskets, red dates, and longans, with round shapes being ideal.
Yang reminds temple goers to tell Yue Lao their name, address, date of birth in the lunar calendar, and the deal traits of their future spouse. The more details provided, the better match Yue Lao can find.
If a person later finds an ideal match, they should return to the temple with wedding cakes and candy.
The following are don'ts listed by numerologist Hsiao Meng (小孟):
1. Avoid eating beef
Because the cowherd used to take care of cattle, people should avoid eating beef on Qixi. Otherwise, it will offend him, leading to disputes and conflict among couples. If someone eats beef by accident, they can do good deeds or donate to charity to compensate for slighting the cowherd.
2 Avoid wearing clothing with holes
The weaver girl used to make clothing. Therefore, if someone has a hole in their trousers, it represents an emotional deficiency in their romantic life. In the future, irreparable fissures could open up in the relationship, heralding its demise.
3. Don't move the bed
Moving a child's bed during Qixi can easily upset the Bed Goddess and result in reduced blessings for the child.