This year Qixi Festival falls on August 28, 2017. To celebrate, we’re sharing three popular love stories from around the world that we hope inspire you to learn about love in all its forms – classics such as the story behind Qixi Festival just as well as modern ones.
Romantic renegades: What we can learn from unconventional love
When you think of the most romantic day of the year, your first thought is probably February 14. If you’re living in a western country, Valentine’s Day is likely your go-to day for showing the person you love how you feel. However, if you live in China, you’ll have another day on your mind: the Double Seventh Festival, also known as Qixi Festival. Falling on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, this day rose to prominence because of a special legend about two young lovers. This year, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month and hence Qixi Festival falls on August 28, 2017. To celebrate, we’re sharing three popular love stories from around the world that we hope inspire you to learn about love in all its forms – classics such as the story behind Qixi Festival just as well as modern ones.
The legend of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl
In the legend of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu, also known as the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, it is said that Niu Lang was a cowboy who had a kind heart even though he lived with and was treated poorly by his brother and brother-in-law. One day, after having been driven out of his home, a supernatural being disguised as an old man, guided him to a herd of sick cattle. With great care from Niu Lang, the cattle recovered. In order to show gratitude to Niu Lang, a cow helped him get acquainted with Zhi Nu, a fairy from heaven. They fell in love with each other, married, and had a son and a daughter. For some time, they lived a perfectly happy life together; Niu Lang grew and harvested crops in the field while Zhi Nu weaved at home. Unfortunately, their good times didn't last long because one day the king of heaven made Zhi Nu come back to heaven, leaving her husband and children behind. Niu Lang was devastated to lose her. With the cow's help, he flew to heaven along with his two children to find his wife. Just as he was reaching Zhi Nu, the queen of heaven created a huge river between them. Their mutual heartbreak was so evident and their tears flowed so immensely that even the queen was moved. As a result, she allowed them to meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month – the day that marks the Double Seventh or Qixi Festival.
The moral of the story? True love always wins. Having that special someone by your side, will make you stronger than you think. And don’t let other people’s opinions of you hold you down or influence you. If it feels right for you and your partner, then it is right. Trust your gut and focus on what’s most important to you – the person you love and yourself.
The timeless romance of Romeo and Juliet
Perhaps the most well-known love story of all time, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is the tragic tale of two lovers who are not allowed to be together due to a long-standing conflict between their families. They meet in secret to hide from their families, but once they find out, chaos and tragedy follows.
When Juliet is forced to marry someone else, she decides to fake her death with a fake poison. A messenger is sent to let Romeo know that she’s faking her death, and that he’s to meet her when she wakes up in her family crypt. Unfortunately, the messenger never reaches Romeo and when he hears of Juliet’s death otherwise, he wants to be reunited with her in death and consumes poison. Only after he has done so, Juliet wakes up and realizes what he has done. He passes away in her arms. She, heartbroken, then stabs herself with his dagger.
What’s the lesson behind this tragic love story? Don’t rush your love and don’t hastily do something you cannot undo. Take one step at a time, love is worth the wait and will unfold its full potential if you give it the chance. Depending on the situation you’re in, it might be helpful to talk to someone you trust – like your parents, older siblings, or a counselor – when you’ve met someone special. And remember: If you ever feel like you need someone to speak to, whether it’s about a broken heart or you’re feeling lonely and depressed, reach out to those you trust. They will help you through emotionally hard times, too.
Keeping it real with Juno
If you’re looking for the anti-Hollywood cliché happy ending, look no further than the quirky Juno. This unusual teen love story is both bittersweet and often funny, while managing to tackle the subject of unintended teenage pregnancy. Unlike the classic legends of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu or Romeo and Juliet, Juno’s modern love story shows that we can learn important lessons for navigating love and relationships in today’s world, too. Love does not need to be tragic like the classics, it feels just as real and special when it happens here and now – and often not as one might have planned. Juno is the perfect example for that.
In the film, 16-year-old girl Juno unexpectedly becomes pregnant by her best friend Paulie. At first unsure of what to do, she decides to keep the baby in order for it to be adopted by a couple. When she gives birth, Paulie is by her side and both decide they don’t want to see the baby after the birth in order to make it easier on both of them. The adoptive couple is shown falling in love with the child from the very moment they are a new family. At the end of the movie, Juno visits Paulie and talks about falling in love, then having babies, and how it didn't end up in that order for her.
The important life lesson of Juno: Sometimes lives can take unexpected turns and something happens that you were not yet ready for, like an unintended pregnancy. It’s certainly overwhelming if it happens, but there is help. Talking to a trusted source like a healthcare provider or counselor can provide you with support and options as to what to do and what to expect during a pregnancy. They will also be a great source when it comes to learning more about contraceptive options and family planning in general. A good starting point can be found here contraception method explorer.
There’s no right or wrong choice – only the choice that’s best for you.