On the night when Niulang and Zhinv met, girls offer melons and other fruits, and worship toward the sky to pray for bright minds and clever hands, because Zhinv was a weaver fairy. In ancient times, skillful sewing was very important to them. They also pray for a wonderful marriage which will decide their life-long happiness.
Legend has it that in the quiet of the night, girls will have a faithful marriage if they can hear the sound of Niulang and Zhinv talking under a pumpkin shed .
Young women and girls fast during the day, burn incense and worship, then they sit around a table to talk about their thoughts about a great marriage. In Chinese feudal society, people were not free to choose their own marriage partner, especially the women, and they didn’t have the right of free speech, not to mention freedom. Therefore, young girls didn’t have any other way; they only looked forward to this day, and worshiped Zhinv as they hoped for an ideal partner.
Girls watch the starry sky to find the Niulang and Zhinv stars and plead for skills. The obvious way is by displaying their needlework. Offering melons on the altar is to pray for an increase of agricultural products and continuous descendants.
Girls catch spiders, putting them into small boxes, and check the spider’s web on the next day. The more intense the spider’s web is, the more clever the hands of the girls will be.
On that night, unmarried girls perform a small test by placing a needle on the water’s surface. If the needle doesn’t sink, the girl is considered to be ready to find a good husband.
Kuixing is the four stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper, who is a god in charge of literature in Chinese mythology. On this night, men worship Kuixing to pray for passing the Imperial examination.
Girls use petal juice to dye their nails, which is not only for beauty but also to keep their fingers healthy. They also use dew to spread on their hands and face while making great wishes. They believe that the dew on that night is tears of Zhinv.
In Chinese ancient times, the family mode of men tilling and women weaving is the basic economic production. In these festival activities, women recognize and strengthen their character gradually, which was the requirement of society transformed to their own specification.
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