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First off... 七夕节快乐! For those who are wondering, today is the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar meaning it is Chinese Valentine's Day!

Actually something that I have been wondering though is there a difference between 情人节 and 七夕节? I know 七夕节 literally means something like the Seventh Evening but are both phrases interchangeable? Thanks.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Though they are similar in significance they happen on two different dates, and therefore are not interchangeable.

七夕节 is a festival based on a very old myth. The story has many variations but simply put it tells of a young cow herder who is separated from his true love, a weaver maiden by a silver river. On the 7th day of the 7th lunar month they are rejoined when magpies form a bridge to allow the lovers be reunited.

情人节 is a festival that started around the 18th century and used the name of a christian saint for the handwritten notes of love they would exchange.

They are very different in background but have given way to the commercial ideals of consumerism. The malls seem to treat both as the same type and I often see it referred to in print as "Chinese Valetines Day"

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"cow herder" is Altair, "weaver maiden" is Vega, and "a silver river" is actually the galaxy. –  Stan Aug 13 '13 at 9:50
@Stan You are right, I left it out since the OP simply wanted to know the difference. Plus my astronomy is poor. "a silver river" is commonly identified as the milky way. –  tao Aug 13 '13 at 9:55
Never heard of silver river being used instead of the Milky Way. I sense Chinglish here. –  deutschZuid Aug 14 '13 at 3:25

In short, they were completely different, but they're almost the same in modern life.

From Wikipedia:




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Mike please provide enough explanation in English. This is a requirement for answers on this site to ensure answers have a decent explanation and not just a wall of copy and pasted Chinese text. –  xiaohouzi79 Aug 13 '13 at 9:34
Could you possibly translate this? I may misunderstand the true purpose of Chinese.StackExchange, but I am not an expert in Chinese at all so I'd really appreciate an explanation rather than a bunch of Chinese text. –  aug Aug 13 '13 at 16:35

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