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Guide to 2024 Qixi Festival in Singapore

2024 Qixi Festival guide
Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life

All you need to know about the 2024 Qixi Festival in Singapore. Falling on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month on 10 August 2024, the Qixi Festival is also known as the Double Seventh Festival, Chinese Valentine’s Day or Qiqiao Festival.

The Qixi Festival 2024 in Singapore is being revived after being almost forgotten for decades — it is said to have been grander than Chinese New Year and one of eight staple Chinese festivals celebrated in Singapore since the mid-1800 originating in China. The Qixi Festival (七夕节) is centred on the practice of participants wishing upon the stars under the night sky — it is apparently not as many believe, the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day despite the Qixi origin story of two star-crossed lovers. Over the years, the Qixi Festival has faded into obscurity outside of China with many unaware of its existence or the meaning behind its traditions. Let’s take a look at Qixi, a festival that is full of history and culture and we’ll see how it is celebrated in Singapore.

Read More: Best Restaurants in Singapore for Date Night

When is the Qixi Festival 2024?

Falling on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, the Qixi Festival takes place every year between 31 July and 29 August. This year the Qixi Festival will be celebrated on 10 August 2024 (but in Singapore it is often celebrated over many weekends from July until August).

Qixi Fest in Singapore

2024 Qixi Festival singapore
Image credit: Peakpx

Last year, the Qixi Festival was revived in Singapore as The Qixi Fest, and spanned 7 weekends in July and August culminating in a mega carnival at Smith Street, Chinatown. There were free boat tours, storytelling sessions; and an exciting line-up of hands-on activities such as crocheting classes in the crafting spirit of the festival, heritage cooking and demonstration workshops with Qixi festival snacks. Many of the Qixi Fest programmes in Singapore were free while others were ticketed.

Qixi Festival: Chinese Valentine’s Day/Qiqiao Festival/Double Seventh Festival

Also known as the Qiqiao Festival or the Double Seventh Day (and some even say Chinese Valentine’s Day), the Qixi Festival is based on the star-crossed love story between Zhinu, a weaver girl who is the daughter of a goddess and Niulang, a mortal cowherd. Legend says that the two of them fell in love, got married and had two kids before Zhinu’s mother found out about the couple. Enraged that her daughter fell in love with a mere mortal, Zhinu’s mother dragged her back to the heavens and created the Silver River also known as the Milky Way to block Niulang from chasing after Zhinu. Touched by their love story, the magpies on land formed a bridge across the river so the two could reunite. Eventually, their love story also moved Zhinu’s mother and she permitted them to meet once a year on the same day hence the celebration of the Qixi Festival on the seventh day of the seventh month every lunar year.

Traditions for Qixi Festival

2024 qixi festival chinese valentines day
Image Credit: Eko Herwantoro

Traditionally, women would pray to Zhinu on the day of the Qixi Festival with offerings such as tea and fruits. Single women would pray for a good spouse and newly wed couples would pray for a good marriage. In the night, the Qixi Festival celebrations would continue with women competing in a needlework contest to see who can thread the best in low light.

Feasting for Qixi Festival: Qi Qiao Festival

Feasting for Qixi Festival: Qi Qiao Festival
Qiaoguo (Qixi Pastry) for Qixi Festival

Another way people traditionally celebrate Qixi is by making ‘Qiao Foods’, so called because Qixi Festival is also called Qi Qiao Festival. Qiaoguo (Qixi Pastry) is the ultimate Qixi Festival food. The main ingredients are flour, sesame, sugar and honey. Qiaoguo is a traditional fried thin pastry that comes in various different shapes sometimes made with a wooden mold. Qixi pastries gained popularity during the Song Dynasty and are believed to help reunite couples on the magpie bridge during the Qixi Festival.

How to celebrate 2024 Qixi Festival in Singapore?

Some say that Qixi is a day to spend time with one’s partner or even get hitched – as some couples choose the Qixi Festival as a date to get married (though some still hold superstitions around the day regarding separation!). Rather than the traditional ways of celebrating Qixi, many go the Western route and swap out the traditional Qixi celebrations for more modern Valentine’s Day traditions like giving flowers, chocolates and other Valentine’s day gifts.

Read More: Gifts for Chinese Valentine’s Day Singapore

Qixi festival singapore
Image credit: Qixi Fest 2023

According to Qixi Fest (七夕乞巧嘉年华) festival director Lynn Wong who is reviving the Qixi Festival celebration in Singapore, the Qixi Festival is not a Chinese Valentine’s Day but centred on the practice of wishing upon the stars under the night sky. Qixi was brought over to Singapore as a celebration by women pioneers as early as the 19th century. The women formed sisterhood organisations called Seven Sisters’ Associations, or Milky Way Associations, to celebrate Qixi festival together. Customs include Qiqiao (乞巧), which is the practice of wishing upon the stars to become skillful in the arts, such as needlework and handicrafts. Qixi Festival was marked by grand public displays of handicrafts in Chinatown – especially those that involved Majies (妈姐, domestic servants) from the Shuntak region – but these traditions have disappeared since the 1970s as many Majies began to retire and returned to their hometown.

Check out the upcoming Qixi Festival events in Singapore here.

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Lead image credit: Pexels

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