Domestic Affairs

Commercial element of festival is not all bad

By Zhang Jin (
Updated: 2010-08-16 16:36
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The fairytale has it. The daughter of the Jade Emperor and Heavenly Queen, the rulers of heavy, falls in love with a cow herder and she marries him. Even after they have two children, the Heavenly Queen, furious at the herder’s status, separates the couple and only allows them to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month under the Chinese lunar calendar.

And that day is remembered as Qixi Festival.

According to the tale, one of the virtues of the cow herder was his hard-working and thriftiness in running the family. But nowadays people celebrate the festival, touted as the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day, by spending.

Online stores are selling novel gifts such as fireflies. Prices of flowers, of course, shore up – more than double at many stores.

Shopping malls and restaurants gear up their efforts to cash in on this spending spree.

It sounds a bit sad as some have complained that the traditional ways of celebrating the festival - preparing fruits and incense as offerings and going to the temple to pray for love - are losing ground.

But the good side of the story is that Chinese festivals are coming back to life. Thanks to the commercial publicity, they at least are remembered by a lot of young Chinese, who have quickly forgotten traditions.

And Qixi is becoming the only Chinese festival – except Spring Festival – that may arouse the youth’s enthusiasm.

Don’t blame anyone for the fading traditional element of the festival. It’s better than nothing.