China: Around The Nation

Lonely singles seek help from sacred tree ahead of Chinese Valentine’s Day

Group offers up prayers to ancient Bodhi tree in the hope of finding true love

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 12:10pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 3:18pm

A group of singles desperate to find love ahead of the so-called Chinese Valentine’s Day have turned to a 1,400-year-old tree for help.

A total of 99 single men and women offered a prayer that they would find true love to the “Bodhi tree”, a sacred plant in Buddhist beliefs, the China News Service reported.

The event at a tourist attraction in Luanchuan, Henan province, was held on Saturday for the Qixi Festival, sometimes described as China’s Valentine’s Day.

Monday marks this year’s Qixi Festival, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month and celebrates the romantic folk tale of a fairy who is only allowed to meet her mortal husband on this day.

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The 2,000-year-old festival originated from a legend in which the fairy called Zhi Nyu married a mortal called Niu Lang.

Soon after the couple had two children, the Goddess of Heaven, who was against their marriage, turned them into stars and sent them into the heavens, using the Milky Way to divide them.

Every year a group of magpies take pity on the couple and fly up into the heavens and form a bridge that allows them to be reunited every year.

Recent years have seen more young Chinese embrace the traditional festival by spending time or exchanging gifts with their loved ones.

Participants in the celebration each held a banner that said “I need to stop being single” as they walked around the old tree three times, the report said.

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The men and women together threw the banners in the air after praying.

Also invited to the event was a dog bearing the name “Single Dog” – an internet slang term used as self-mockery by single people.