Whether it’s the steel pan drum instrument or the mathematician Stefan Banach – Google recently redesigned its logo to draw attention to people or cultural assets that were influential but not particularly well known to many Internet users.
The same applies to the current one Doodle to the Chinese festival Qixi. The question of awareness here depends very much on which country you look at. In China, that’s what it’s all about Festival of Lovers to everyday culture. It’s based on a heartbreaking folk tale.
1. The folk tale: Two lovers are only allowed to meet once a year
Many countries and cultures around the world celebrate a day of love, Valentine’s Day. It originally goes back to an alleged martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. In China, where Catholics have less influence, love is celebrated with the festival of Qixi, celebrated on a Folk tale about a forbidden love based.
Qixi falls on the evening of the seventh day of the seventh month according to the Chinese lunar calendar, the official calendar of the empire replaced by the Chinese Republic in 1912, which is still used today to calculate traditional holidays. Qixi is based on the folk tale “Kuhhirte und Weberin“, two figures representing the stars Altair and Alone symbolize and are in love with each other.
The legend has many variations. She breaks it down to the fact that the weaver has a connection to the gods, for example as a fairy from heaven or as the granddaughter of the heavenly ruler, and falls in love with a cowherd on earth as a weaver. With this love followed by marriage and starting a family the weaver angers the gods.
As punishment, the two are separated. From now on they are on opposite sides of the “Silver River”, which is an old Chinese term for the Milky Way. The separation of the lovers is reflected in the starry sky.
But this form of division was apparently too much even for the angry gods: once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, a swarm of magpies come and form one Bridge for the weaver and the cowherdso they can meet.
Qixi: From Heaven to Hollywood
The folk tale “cowherd and weaver” was taken up several times. Astronomer and writer Carl Sagan, for example, makes reference to it in a 1985 science fiction novel, Contact.
In 1997, the Hollywood film adaptation of the same name was released in cinemas. Jodie Foster plays researcher Dr. Ellie Arroway searching for extraterrestrial life from Earth. An encrypted radio signal from space brings the breakthrough – it comes from the Wega system.
Qixi: That’s how the word is pronounced
The correct pronunciation of Chinese words is not easy for inexperienced people. “Qixi” is pronounced like this: “Tji Chi”.