Zhi nv and Niu Lang

“Legend says that there is a Zhi Nv star and a Qian Niu star and they fell in love; but the law of heaven (chinese heaven) forbids man and woman to fall in love, so as a punishment, Qian Niu star was stripped of his “heaven” status and forced to descend to the human world, while Zhi Nv star was forced to make clouds out of the spinning wheel indefinitely. After Qian Niu star was sent to the human world, he was “born” into a farm family and being named “Niu (cow) Lang.” After his family passed away, he went to live with his uncle and aunt who treated him terribly, and casted him out of the house with nothing but a broken cart and a cow. Niu Lang managed to make a living with himself with just that but his life is still very poor and terrible, and then one day the cow told Niu Lang to go to Bi Lian Chi (green lotus pool) and that if he hid the red clothes of the fairy, he can have that fairy as his wife. Niu Lang did that, and so when it’s time to leave, all the other fairies flew away with their clothes, but Zhi Nv, having her clothes hidden, could not leave. Zhi Nv was very embarrassed but Niu Lang told her that he will not give her her clothes back unless she marries her. Zhi Nv looked at Niu Lang once again and realized that he is the reincarnation of the Qian Niu Star that she loved so much so then she said yes to marrying him.

The two then are happily married and had one daughter and one son. Just when they thought they could be together forever, the queen of heaven Wang Mu (direct translation: King Mom) found out about this and sent for heaven guards to go and capture her. At the same time, Niu Lang comes crying to Zhi Nv telling her that the cow has died and that before it died it told Niu Lang that if he skins him, he can use his cow skin to fly to the sky.

The guards came to capture Zhi Nv and thus Niu Lang followed with their children and the cow skin. Just as they are about to reach each other, Wang Mu came and created a sky river that rushed between the two and they can never cross it. Niu Lang and the children cried so hard that eventually Wang Mu was touched by their love and thus allowed the two to meet once on the 7th of July every year. Since then, the two lives up in the sky with a river in between them where they stand on each side and try to look for each other, and the 7th of July became the Chinese Valentine’s day that people celebrate.”

CM says that based on geographic location apparently the stars are actually located that way. Everyone learned this tale as a kid and would celebrate Chinese Valentine’s day, which is very similar to western valentines day. It’s an excuse for people to give presents to each other and go on dates, etc. In Chinese movies they prohibit western holidays so they often use this as valentines day. It’s interesting that it is based on forbidden love, similar but a much less gory story than the western St. Valentine.