NZTC International Word of the Week: 情人节 (pronounced‘qin-ren-jie’)


NZTC International Word of the Week: 情人节 (pronounced‘qin-ren-jie’)These days many young Chinese celebrate 14 February, known in China as 情人节 (literally ‘Lovers’ Day’), much as people celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day in many other countries, by buying flowers, chocolates and cards for that special person in their life. The traditional Chinese equivalent is the Qixi Festival (七夕节), also known as the Qiqiao Festival (七巧节), celebrating the legend of a cowherd and a weaver girl, which dates back over 2500 years in Chinese mythology. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar. According to one version of the legend, because their romance was forbidden the lovers were banished to opposite sides of the Silver River (symbolising the Milky Way). Once a year, a flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite them for that one day. Amongst the young especially, this tradition has now been superseded by the ‘globalised’ ‘Western’ form of Valentine's Day. Today in China, many young couples also celebrate‘White Day’, one month after St. Valentine’s Day, as a day to pursue romance, reflecting a tradition that originated in Japan.