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Couples to Join Chinese Valentine's Day Gala

Couples from Shanghai are among the guests for the grand gala, on this Wednesday's 7th day of the 7th lunar month, to celebrate the Chinese Valentine's Day at Mount Wuyi Mountain in southeast China's Fujian Province, Shanghai Morning Post reported.

Citing He Yuanbo, director of the event's organizing commission, the report said 7,700 couples from across the nation will gather at the mountain for the big party from August 11 through 13.

"We have had so much response nationwide that our reservation hotlines are ringing constantly," He said.

Shanghainese are very keen on the event, he noted, and flights on Wednesday from Shanghai to Wuyi Mountain are fully booked. The commission has arranged two chartered jets to carry the participants.

Meanwhile, it has organized seven trains to bring the couples from across the nation, including from Shanghai and Wuhan.

Highlights of the gala will include an all-star concert and a dating party on a specially-constructed bridge. The program of the concert has been settled, and the couples who meet on the bridge will feel the romance as once the legendary beloveds did.

As the legend goes, in ancient China, Niulang, a poor young man, fell in love with the fairy Zhinu. Zhinu's mother, the Queen of Heaven, was angry with them both and drew a line between them to separate them.

The line became the Milky Way, or the Silver River as it is known in Chinese, and the couple became the two stars of Vega and Aquila on either side.

The Queen was finally moved by their true love and allowed them to meet each year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month on a bridge across the starry river.

To celebrate the love story, Chinese people have a tradition of sitting outdoors to observe the two stars on that day.

Girls may prepare fruits, melons and incense as offerings to Zhinu, the weaving maiden, praying to acquire her high skills in needlecraft, as well as hoping to find satisfactory husbands.

(Shanghai Daily August 10, 2005)

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