Today is Qixi, Chinese Valentines Day… of course all the girls are all a flutter, waiting to see what their boyfriends and husbands are going to get them for this day. I wanted to first tell you the story behind this day. Now mind you this was told to me by my co-workers and adult students.
Evidently, there were 7 sisters that were the daughters of a goddess. They decided to go swimming in a lake on earth. There was a man, Niu Lang, decided to have a bit of fun by running off with their clothing. The sisters made the youngest and prettiest daughter,Zhi Nu; go after the clothes. As you can guess the two of them fell in love and had two children. (yeah, not sure how long she was getting the clothes but that is what they told me) .. anyway… The goddess (or crazy grandma.. one of my students said) did not like the fact that her daughter was in love with a mortal man. So, like in most Chinese tales… she forbids them to be together. Now it gets a little crazy and confusing…. Niu Lang starting chasing after the girl and meets a cow…(yeah a cow) … and the cow says (yes it talks… don’t ask me) you can kill me and use my hide to cover you and then you can fly to meet her. (Im not sure about why the cows skin would help the dude to fly… but maybe Chinese cows can fly.. who knows.)
Then somewhere in the story… the crazy grandmother sees how strongly they feel about each other that she agrees that they can see each other once a year on this day. (today August 6th .. which is the 7th month and 7th day in the lunar calendar)... then to meet the birds build some kind of bridge and they walk and meet each other in the heavens every year to be together. (Im thinking he flies to the bird bridge in his cow hide…..)
I know the story is a little crazy .. but as with all Chinese tales… they believe them enough to celebrate the day.
So.. my office was filled with expensive roses and bear bouquets. People were all giggly and holding hands while wearing matching couple shirts walking down the street. Love was definitely in the air. I however, did not receive any flowers. Seeing as my husband does not usually remember or care about these holidays, I was expecting a big box of nothing like he usually does.
However, this year I was pleasantly surprised. He called me and told me to get dressed we were going out to dinner for Valentines Day. I said really? I quickly got dressed and we went out to a restaurant that was not to far from my home. It seemed that the restaurant only had one menu for the night…. 4 meals that priced from 160 rmb to 300 rmb. All had steaks, with french fries, couple of pieces of carrot, soup, fruit salad, two pieces of cake, two glasses of wine, two glasses of milk tea and a rose. If you added a fruit plate, or coffee, or some other kind of dish.. the price went up.
The place was pretty crowded and we had a seat that was kind of close to the front door so we could see everyone coming in and out. It just so happens that almost everyone that came thru the door one of us knew or we knew together. They all stopped by and said hello and I heard everyone asking Michael if this was his wife… and him smiling widely stating YES.
I was even surprised to see the ex-boyfriend walk in the door alone…I think he was as surprised as I was. He smile and wave at me and then stare at Michael , who calmly stared back at him and smiled. He had that look- what- I- got- and- you- lost look on his face. (my hubby is so cool sometimes). The evening progressed with several people continuing to come over and speak …. and ended with a couple of our good friends sitting down with us for a while… complimenting us on how we were still romantic after all this time.
Finally, everyone left us alone… and we sat quietly and looked at each other …… I smiled and said thank you for a wonderful evening…. and he just laughed and said…. You always think I forget everything….. Surprise!… I actually remembered without you telling me. Yes… you did…. Yes .. he did … Never a dull moment in the Gan household I tell you.
until next time…..
- China’s answer to Valentine’s Day (cnn.com)
- Say It With Flowers This Valentine’s Day (moneysupermarket.com)