The Summer Palace held a special event to celebrate the Qixi Festival, known as Chinese Valentine's Day, in a traditional way. It's the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, which falls on Aug 7 this year.
In the legend, the Qixi Festival day was the only time in the whole year for the couple of Cowherd and Weaving Maid to meet each other. On that day they would come together across a colorful bridge formed by all the magpies in the world, connecting the two sides of the Bright Galaxy.
Cowherd and Weaving Maid were Cowherd Star and the Maid Star in the heaven and had a secret romantic attraction. They even formed a family in the human world and had a son and a daughter. The Empress of heaven in the end punished them for their secret love and separated them across the Bright Galaxy.
At the special event, the 17-arch Bridge above Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace was suddenly bright and its color changed with the music, just after the guests of the event loudly recited its theme: Waiting for you in the Summer Palace.
"I really like the lights, because it's very nice here, the Summer Palace," said a tourist from Maldives." And I like how they are trying to show what happened and why they are celebrating it now."
Newly-wed couples and couples with silver and even golden anniversaries in Beijing were invited to the special event to celebrate the romantic festival in a very traditional way.
Model citizens, the most beautiful families, and the representatives of the golden couple in Beijing also received gifts of peach packages at the launching ceremony, prepared by the Summer Palace and the city's Pinggu district, which is famous for its quality peaches.
In a bird's-eye view of the Summer Palace, its Kunming Lake is like a huge peach which means happiness and longevity in traditional Chinese culture.
"It's quite different from the Valentine's Day," said an event attendee from Afghanistan, "They have Chinese operas. It's very interesting for me because this is my first time to see it."
Two classic Chinese opera love stories, Peony Pavilion, created by China's famous playwright Tang Xianzu in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and Butterfly Lovers, also known as the "Romeo and Juliet of China", were performed on-site.
"This is the first time we have held such an event, and it is conducive to preserving traditional Chinese culture," said Qin Lei, the deputy director of the Summer Palace.
More special events like this are expected to be held at the Summer Palace to celebrate traditional Chinese festivals such as Spring Festival and Lantern Festival, said Qin.
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