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The Qixi Festival, also known as the Qiqiao Festival (乞巧节), falls on the 7th day of the 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It is a festival in China celebrating the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in mythology. In 2018, the Festival falls on Friday, August 17th.

The Festival has been celebrated in China since the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). Based on the legend of “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” (牛郎织女), the day is celebrated at the time of years when the stars Vega and Altair become bridged together across the Milky Way by a third star. As the tale goes, the cowherd Niulang, with the help of his ox (the demoted cattle god), married a fairy, Zhinü, who became a weaver girl. They lived on earth happily. However, Zhinü’s mother, a goddess, returned Zhinü to heaven. Niulang pursued Zhinü with the help of the magic hide of his faithful ox. The goddess separated them by a river of stars (the Milky Way), but a flock of magpies were allowed to form a bridge for them to meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month.

In ancient China, to celebrate Qiyi, girls took part in worshiping the celestials (拜仙) during rituals. Under the moonlight, they prayed to Zhinü for dexterity in needlework which symbolized the traditional talents of a good wife. Today, Qixi has evolved to become the festival of romance. It is often called the Chinese Valentine’s Day.

The legend of “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” is considered one of the Four Great Folktales, the others being “The Legend of the White Snake”(白蛇传), “Lady Meng Jiang”(孟姜女) and “Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai”(梁山伯与祝英台).

In Japan, Qixi is celebrated as the Tanabata festival, and in Korea, the Chilseok festival.

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One of China’s most popular holiday activities is the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 Duānwǔ Jié). Traditionally held at the start of the fifth solar month every year, this festival is a fun-filled way for the family to welcome the beginning of summer.

The highlight of the Dragon Boat Festival is the dragon boat racing. Local teams race each other in the long flat boats decorated to look like dragons. A drummer beats loudly at the front of the boat to set the pace of synchronized paddling as boats race for first place. An all-day affair, families picnic alongside the shore to cheer on the boat teams. Often local vendors will be on hand with food stalls and related gift items, as well as face painting, games, and activities for the children.

The Dragon Boat heritage originated, it is said, in honor of Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Miluo River. As the villagers searched and searched for his body by beating the water with paddles and scaring the fish with drums — the legend goes — the Dragon Boat Festival grew out of a wish to not forget him.

Locally, in Southern California, Dragon Boat Festivals are not bound to the early June timeframe, which provides residents opportunities this year to watch and participate in these joyous activities.

It’s been a long-time Long Beach tradition to hold the event along the park and recreation’s public lagoon at 5839 Appian Way. Plan now to attend this year’s event to be held on July 28-29. Their website ( also contains a fuller story of Qu Yuan and the history of the Dragon people of China.

For those that think they have what it takes to enter a Dragon Boat race, they still have time to prepare a boat and practice. The 6 th Annual Los Angeles County Dragon Boat Festival will be held at the Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale on Saturday, October 6, 2018. For information on sponsorships and participation, please go to For more information on the Dragon Boat Festival as they are celebrated in China, please see

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