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Chinese Valentine’s Day, or Qixi(the Qiqiao Festival )falls on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. This year, it is today. According to Chinese legend, a beloved couple, a cowherd and a weaver, are allowed to meet only once a year in heaven on this day.

In accordance with the legend, couples throughout the country are set to celebrate in both modern and traditional ways.

In eastern China’s Hangzhou city, the second Xiaoshan Qixi festival will mark the occasion with an evening of dance, crafts and local cuisine.

Many households in the area will place fruit outside their windows this evening to pay homage to the star Vega (the weaving maid) and a competition that involves young girls threading a needle will be held under moonlight. These activities originate from the Han Dynasty (206BC–220AD) and are widely spread in Xiaoshan.

Shanghai is also celebrating the occasion with the Lover’s Wall area on The Bund undergoing a complete renovation to give a new look to the festival. The surrounding area has been covered with marble and the fence around the wall now sports an ancient, more romantic style.

Fresh colors have added to the wall’s attractiveness with many couples choosing the location over more modern-day options to spend time with each other.

In Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, a large-scale festival will be held at the Huaqing Pool. Residents have been invited to contribute love stories, with 77 pieces, representing the seventh day of the seventh month, being read aloud. 77 couples will participate in a collective wedding ceremony, Tang Dynasty style.

Many young lovers choose Qixi, known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, to register for an official marriage licence to mark their wedding day.

People of the Miao and Li ethnic groups gather to splash water to pray for good fortune at the Qixi Festival celebration gala in Baoting Autonomous County of Li and Miao, south China’s Hainan Province, Aug. 6, 2011. The Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day, falls on Aug. 6 this year. On the day, people of the Li and Miao ethnic groups here usually observe the tradtion to splash water over their lovers, express their affection through water.

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