A day to honour fairy's love for cowherd


  • Nation
  • Monday, 04 Aug 2003

BY CHRISTINA KOH

IPOH: Many Chinese will commemorate today, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, as their “Valentine’s Day,” following the legend of the cowherd who fell in love with the fairy daughter of the Celestial Emperor. 

According to legend, the lovers who were forced to separate would meet halfway between Heaven and Earth on a bridge of magpies on this day. 

One common belief is that the cowherd fell in love with the youngest of seven fairy daughters when the girls descended to earth to bathe in a river. 

“Another version has it that the cowherd came across an injured magpie who turned out to be a fairy. 

“They fell in love and because he was poor, she helped him by weaving exquisite silk clothes to sell,” said Franco Tan, who has been running his father’s prayer paraphernalia business here for 15 years. 

VALENTINE GIFTS:Housewife Wong with the 'beauty' set consisting of a comb,a pair of scissors,a mirror,jewellery,a facetowel and shoes to be offered to the fairy daughter tonight.

However, the Heavenly gods came to know about the couple and took the fairy away because she was not meant to live on earth, said Tan. 

“It is said that whenever they met, rain will fall on that day, representing the couple’s sadness. Some women would collect the rainwater that dayto mix it with grinded padi to produce face powder. 

“The powder is mixed with perfume and it is highly sought after for beauty purposes,” he said. 

During this period, devotees will buy paper paraphernalia to burn as offerings for the couple. 

For the fairy daughter, who is also known as Zhi Nu or the Weaving Maid, devotees will burn a paper ‘beauty’ set which includes a comb, a pair of scissors, mirror, jewellery, a face towel and even a life-sized qi pao gown. 

For the cowherd, known by some as Niu Lang, there is a straw hat, a stick to guide his faithful cow and a set of fine clothes. 

At midnight, devotees would light joss sticks and burn paper offerings in the hope that their own love affairs would be trouble-free and to also wish the lovers greater happiness.  

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