Seven Sisters Festival

Seven Sisters Festival

July-August; seventh day of seventh lunar month
The Seven Sisters Festival is a celebration for would-be lovers, observed in China, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. It is based on an ancient Chinese legend and is also known as the Maiden's Festival, Double Seventh, Chhit Sek, and Chilseog. In the legend, an orphaned cowherd is forced from his home by his elder brother and sister-in-law, who give him only a broken-down cart, an ox, and a tiny piece of land. The ox, called Elder Brother the Ox, takes pity on the cowherd, and tells him that on a certain day seven girls will visit earth from heaven to bathe in a nearby river. If the young man steals the clothes of any one of the girls, she will marry him.
The cowherd steals the clothes of the Seventh Maiden. They fall in love, marry, and live happily for three years, when she is ordered back to heaven by the gods. When the cowherd dies, he becomes immortal, but the Queen Mother of the Western Heaven keeps the two apart by drawing a line across the sky—the Silver River, or Milky Way. They can cross this only once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month, on a bridge formed by thousands of magpies.
On the sixth day of the seventh month, unmarried men pay homage to the cowherd, and on the seventh day, young unmarried women make offerings of combs, mirrors, paper flowers, and powder puffs to the Seventh Maiden. The festival is celebrated chiefly at home, but in Hong Kong young women also visit Lover's Rock on Bowen Road on Hong Kong Island to burn joss ('incense') sticks, lay offerings at the rock, and consult soothsayers.
See also Tanabata
CONTACTS:
Hong Kong Tourism Board
115 E. 54th St. 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10022
212-421-3382; fax: 212-421-8428
www.discoverhongkong.com
SOURCES:
BkFest-1937, p. 79
BkHolWrld-1986, Aug 10
DictFolkMyth-1984, p. 216
EncyRel-1987, vol. 3, p. 326
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 452
OxYear-1999, p. 702
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References in periodicals archive ?
hka/ AUGUST: August 22 Seven Sisters Festival A celebration for girls and young lovers, this festival has its origin in Chinese folklore dating back more than 1,500 years.