Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sunday Bridge: Heavenly Bridge

  Louis La Vache, I am posting you a different kind of bridge. A Heavenly bridge. A rainbow.

In Chinese mythology, the Cowherd aka cow boy meets a fairy,  the Weaving girl aka the fairy. They fall head over heal in love. They get married, and the heavenly authorities make all attempts to separate them. The Gods take the fairy back to Heaven. Out of compassion, they allow them to meet.  The magpies fly up to heaven and form a bridge  on the 7th day of the 7th month. On that day, the two love birds cross this bridge over the Milky way to meet each other.

That day of the lunar calendar has become Chinese Valentine's Day. This is the version my Grandpa told us, and as a kid studying in an English Medium school, I laughed at him.

This is a Chinese Classic. I have been doing a course in teaching ESOL. We now are encourage to teach our non English Children to be proud of their Dual ethnicity.
 Qixi Festival (Chinese; literally "The Night of Sevens"), also known as MagpieFestival, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the lunar calendar.

In late summer, the stars Altair and Vega are high in the night sky, and the Chinese tell the following love story, of which there are many variations:
A young cowherd, hence Niulang (Chinese: ; pinyin: niú láng; literally "[the] cowherd"), came across a beautiful girl--Zhinü (Chinese: ; pinyin: zhī nǚ; literally "[the] weavergirl"), the seventh daughter of the Goddess, who just had escaped from boring heaven to look for fun. Zhinü soon fell in love with Niulang, and they got married without the knowledge of the Goddess. Zhinü proved to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang to be a good husband. They lived happily and had two children.
But the Goddess of Heaven (or in some versions, Zhinü's mother) found out that Zhinü, a fairy girl, had married a mere mortal. The Goddess was furious and ordered Zhinü to return to heaven. (Alternatively, the Goddess forced the fairy back to her former duty of weaving colorful clouds, a task she neglected while living on earth with a mortal.)
On Earth, Niulang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his ox began to talk, telling him that if he killed it and put on its hide, he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife.
Crying bitterly, he killed the ox, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhinü. The Goddess discovered this and was very angry. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming theMilky Way between Altair and Vega.
Zhinü must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niulang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children (his flanking stars β and γ Aquilae or by their Chinese names Hè Gu 1 and Hè Gu 3).
But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge (鹊桥, "the bridge of magpies", Que Qiao) over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon.

This photo belongs to my very good friend, a brother Peter Ning Choon Swee. I met him in Kai Chung School and in Canada. In July, Ning and his wife Vanny took me around Sibu and Binatang.  blogger is playing up again.

No comments: