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5 taboos to dodge on Qixi Festival in Taiwan

Not having sex among superstitions observed during Lunar Valentine's Day

Cowherd and weaver girl meet on Magpie Bridge on Qixi Festival. (hnradio photo)

Cowherd and weaver girl meet on Magpie Bridge on Qixi Festival. (hnradio photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Qixi Festival (七夕節), or Lunar Valentine's Day, is on Thursday (Aug. 4) in many parts of East Asia, and like other festivals in Taiwan, there are traditions that must be followed to ensure romantic success.

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 the exchange of gifts 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. This is because Qixi is not only the day that the cowherd and weaver girl meet, but it also marks the birthdays of the Seven Star Goddess (七娘母) and Bed Goddess (床母).

Folk custom expert Yang Teng-kei (楊登嵙) has listed five taboos observed by many Taiwanese during this period.

5. Don't wear red

Although red traditionally has very festive connotations and is very suitable for romantic occasions, the Qixi Festial occurs during Ghost Month and red also symbolizes blood. Therefore, it is advisable to wear fewer items of clothing that are red, and an entirely red outfit should be especially avoided.

4. Don't point at the moon

In general, pointing with the index finger at the moon is disrespectful to the moon goddess Chang'e and she will retaliate by cutting your ear clean off, or at least cut it slightly. In addition, during the Qixi Festival, it is considered even worse to point at the moon because, in addition to the original punishment from Chang'e, it may cause one's lover to have a change of heart.

3. Don't have sex

Couples can enjoy the company of their significant other on Qixi, but are advised against becoming overly passionate. The ancients did not recommend engaging in sex that night because the seventh day of the seventh month is one of the five major sacrificial days in Taoism.

On this day, offerings must be made to the ancestors and gods. Therefore, people are advised against engaging in carnal pleasures.

2. Don't wear torn clothing

Although many fashion trends feature ripped clothing such as jeans, it is best not to wear torn clothing on Qixi because the weaver girl's job is to make clothing. Wearing torn and tattered clothing on this day may upset the weaver girl and cause rifts in relationships.

1. Don't get married

Although the Qixi festival is romantic, it is best not get married on this day because it is said that the cowherd and weaver girl were separated after meeting on the Magpie Bridge. It is said that if a couple gets married on Qixi Festival, within three years their feelings for each other will easily change.

The other reason to avoid getting married on Qixi is that it is during Ghost Month, which is not considered a suitable time for marriage.