Today, however, only a few of these customs remain, as the festival has become increasingly commercialised, and converted into how the West celebrates Valentine's Day – with many couples celebrating by giving each other gifts and flowers, and going on dates in China and Taiwan. In Hong Kong, the festival has gradually vanished in popularity, with few even unaware of its existence.
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Selina Ching Chan, associate academic vice president and professor of Sociology at Shue Yan University, attributes this to the secularisation and westernisation of Hong Kong, as well as the lack of female factory workers in the city. "Worshipping the weaver fairy was important for women who worked in factories as they hoped it would improve their dexterity and craftsmanship, and also find a good husband," she explains. "With the popularisation of the western Valentine's Day in Hong Kong, there has also been little attempt to rebrand the festival as a romantic one," she adds.
However, there are still many reasons why you should celebrate on Qixi Festival. Rich with history and heritage, the festival is a valuable opportunity to reconnect with our cultural roots, and, if you have a partner, another excuse to go on a nice date and treat them with a gift on top of Valentine's Day. In modern-day love stories, people would often compare Zhinhu and Niulang's tale to long-distance relationships. Well, with the ongoing situation in the city – and around the globe – maybe we all feel like Zhinhu and Niulang, forever hoping that we can finally meet on the Magpie Bridge.
So, whether you're thinking of trying your hand at making some Qiaoguo or just showing your significant other some extra love, celebrate the date and keep the tradition alive.