As the world prepares to celebrate Valentine’s Day, lovers everywhere are taking a moment to reflect on the timeless tales of love and devotion that have captured our imaginations for generations. In ancient China, these stories took the form of mythical folklore, capturing the hearts and minds of generations of Chinese people for over 2,200 years.
One of these tales, the myth of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, tells the story of a young couple named Niulang and Zhinyu. Niulang lived a hard life on earth, treated harshly by his older brother and sister-in-law and with only his old buffalo as a friend. In heaven, Zhinyu was a young lady known for her weaving skills, but grew tired of her dull life and secretly descended to earth where she met Niulang. The two fell in love and got married, living a happy life together until they were discovered by the Emperor of Heaven and Queen Mother.
Outraged, the Queen Mother ordered Zhinyu to return to heaven and separated the couple with a river, but their love inspired the magpies to build a bridge so they could meet once a year. This day became known as the Qixi Festival, celebrated as the most romantic and traditional festival in China and dubbed the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
This beautiful and enduring love story is one of China’s Four Great Folktales, a testament to the enduring power of love and the human spirit. Its legacy continues to inspire and captivate new generations of lovers, reminding us all that the bonds of love are strong enough to endure even the greatest of challenges.