August Festivals

festivalApparently Chinese citizens can’t be satisfied with only one Valentine’s Day in a single year, having created at least two more romantic days for lovers. Falling this year on August 13, the Qixi Festival (Double Sevens Festival) has been a traditional match-making day for over ten years. Behind the festival there is a well-known romantic tragedy, the story of Niulang, a shepherd, and a fairy weaver girl named Zhinü, who fell in love, but were kept apart and allowed to meet only on this day. In some rural regions, girls celebrate at temples wishing for good husbands, and in the city, all kinds of match making activities are being provided for single youngsters.

In Wangniudun Town, these customs will be combined in the annual Qixi Cultural Festival, showcasing traditional handmade tributes from local craftsmen, holding match making events and a love song singing competition. The elaborate tributes resemble chrysanthemum flowers made of rice grains, lotus flowers of garlic skin and egg shell lamps. But all of August is not romantic. Precisely one week later is the spooky Ghost Festival, a time for departed souls and spirits to return from the underworld for a night of fun among the living. For this reason, people usually burn joss paper and offer all kinds of sacrifices to departed ancestors to improve their afterlife.