A Prelude to Chinese Valentine’s Day

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Wednesday is the day that should be celebrated. It marks the end of half the journey, only two days to go for the beloved weekend. But I feel like weekends are overrated these days. Anyway, I always like Wednesday and have a sense of relief when it finally comes.

Today is no exception. However, with two more reasons, today deserves more to be written down.

This noon, after I went back from yoga class ( Thanks to my humane company, I can attend yoga class during business hours, hooray!) , lengthy lunch and a little bit walk around the office building, a colleague came to my desk holding some paper in hand.

“Hey, my parents brought some consvenor momordica fruits from hometown. I put them in the mini-kitchen. Please feel free to grab some.”

(In case anyone that doesn’t know what consvenor momordica fruit is, here is the link of what it looks like)

“Sweet, thank you.”

Then she handed me one piece of the paper.

“What’s this? Wait, you print out the introduction and function?”

“Yeah, many people don’t seem to know how to eat it, so I prepared a brief introduction.”

Free fruits to sample and someone considerate enough to google this and print out for you. This is really sweet, isn’t it?

Speaking of “sweet”, this brings out the next thing I want to talk about. Guess what that is? Watch out, tomorrow will be Chinese Valentine’s Day!

Unlike its western counterpart, Chinese Valentine’s Day is counted with lunar calendar, which means each year it falls upon a different day. This year, the day will be August 23. There are many folktales concerning the day and here is the most famous and celebrated one.

Years and years ago, there was a hard-working young man called “Ox Man” (niu lang, I know the translation seems strange, but please bear with me:P). He lived on farming and he was single. One day, the Heaven God’s (yu di, who is the most powerful god in the heaven) seven beautiful daughters came to play on earth. The youngest one was called “Weave Girl” (zhi nv, a peculiar name for a girl, isn’t it?) and she caught a glimpse of our Ox Man. They fell in love at the first sight. The brave then decided to stay with the boy and didn’t return to the heaven with her sisters.

In the first few years, they lived happily like a fairy tale. Every day, Ox Man would go farming and our girl would stay at home cleaning, cooking and waiting for her man to back home. They also had two children, a girl and a boy. However, it’s not a happily-ever-after story. You should know that the inter-marriage between an ordinary person and a fairy is not allowed. The evil mother of the girl found out and was extremely furious at them. She sent out a regimen of soldiers and forced the girl to back to the heaven. Ox Man didn’t want to give up. Carrying his two children, he ran after the soldiers and pleaded the mother in the hope of winning back Weave Girl. However the mother was hard-hearted and couldn’t be assuaged. In the end, she took out her hairpin and scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers. And thus how Milky Way (known as Silver River in Chinese culture) came into being.

Sadly, Ox Man sat on one side of the river while Weave Girl on the other. And they wept, a lot. Finally, magpies took pity on them and once in a year, they would fly up to heaven and build a bridge for the two lovers to meet. And the day is July 7th, according to Chinese lunar calendar.

Since then, the day has been celebrated as Valentine’s Day in China.

As the first Valentine’s Day after our marriage, what kind of surprise Frank is preparing for me? What presents will I buy for him?

Well, that’s a secret I’ll never tell.
Until tomorrow 🙂

PS: For anyone interested to know Chinese Valentine’s Day more, please refer to the following link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qixi_Festival

The version of the story might differ in details but you won’t mind, do you? This is what I was told when I was a kid.

Below is the photo of the fruit and the introduction page, sweet, sweet:

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