Chinese culture for kids series: Chinese Valentine’s Day.
Chinese Valentine’s Day is known as “七夕 Qi Xi” in Chinese. Do you see a bridge formed by “magpies” -xǐ què 喜鵲 (traditional Chinese) | 喜鹊 (simplified Chinese) in the night sky on the day of 七夕 (Qi Xi)? Is it raining? 七夕 Qi Xi is the evening of the 7th day of the 7th lunar month. “七夕 Qi Xi” falls on August 28 this year (2017).
Qi Xi is known as Tanabata in Japan, Chilseok in Korea and That Tich in Vietnam.
Traditionally, Qi Xi is known as Daughter’s Day, it is an important day for girls. Families pray to star Vega (represents zhī nǚ) and wish for crafty hands, intelligence, and good health for the girls in the family. This can be traced back to Han dynasty (206BC-220AD). The regional tradition of Qi Xi varies in China.
The tale behind 七夕- Qi Xi is the love story of 牛郎 = Niú láng (cowherd) on earth and 織女 = zhī nǚ (weaver girl), the fairy weaver girl. The star for Niú láng (cowherd) is Altair and the star for zhī nǚ (weaver girl) is Vega.
The story goes like this… The fairy weaver girl is the youngest of the Goddess’s seven daughters. She went down to the earth to have fun with her sisters and got left behind. She fell in love with the cowherd and stayed on earth. The goddess was furious and ordered the fairy to return to heaven and separated the weaver girl from the cowherd. The tears of the lovers dropped down from the sky as rain and the magpies were touched by the love and devotion of the two and formed a bridge for them to unite on the milky way. Jade emperor was also moved by 牛郎 Niú láng (cowherd) and 織女 zhī nǚ (weaver girl) and decided to allow the two to see each other once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month.
The Qi Xi Festival resources I include here are a well-known Chinese song performed by Bon Jon Jovi and by the original singer, Teresa Deng. Furthermore, I have selected one video of Qi Xi festival in English and another video telling the story in Chinese with Chinese subtitle.
Activities to follow:
1. Have the kids follow the pinyin or Chinese lyrics and sing 月亮代表我的心 = Yuè liàng dài biǎo wǒ de xīn. Create a storyboard for the song.
2. Listen to the story and discuss the story of Qi Xi. Is there an equivalent or a similar story in a different culture?
3. Ribbon dance fun at home or in class. ( See the video of ribbon dance performed by a 9-year-old girl below.)
Bon Jon Jovi sings the Chinese classic pop song, 月亮代表我的心 = Yuè liàng dài biǎo wǒ de xīn for his Chinese-speaking audience on the Chinese Valentine’s Day. He did such a good job singing this song and I am impressed. Enjoy!
Chinese for Kids: Sing a Chinese Song with Jon Bon Jovi
月亮代表我的心 = Yuè liàng dài biǎo wǒ de xīn – The Moon Represents My Heart. This song is originally performed by 鄧麗君[邓丽君]= Dèng lì jūn, Teresa Deng in Taiwan. Teresa broke the barrier between Taiwan and China years ago with her beautiful voice. This video has lyrics in Pinyin and simplified Chinese characters. My two kids had fun singing with this video. Try it out!
Chinese for Kids: Sing a Chinese Song – lyrics in pinyin and Chinese simplified characters
Chinese for Kids: Story Time – Story of Qi Xi in English:
Chinese for Kids: Story Time – Story of Qi Xi in Mandarin Chinese with subtitle in traditional Chinese Characters
Chinese Ribbon Dance
I hope you enjoy the story of Chinese Valentine’s Day – Qi Xi 七夕 and all the activities that go with it here.
Happy Qi Xil! = 七夕快樂！= Qī xì kuài lè!
Video resource courtesy of YouTube and its original copyright owners.
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