I bet you didn’t know this but today is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, which means it’s Valentine’s Day in China! And being the seventh day of the seventh lunar month makes me want to break out in song. I think you’ll like it. Ready? Here goes: “When the moooooon is in the seventh houuuuuse…. ” Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I love that show tune as well as the musical it’s from (“Hair”), which I DIDN’T get to see before it left Broadway a few weeks ago. Oh! The agony!
Okay, back on track. This day of sevens is important for a Â young woman named “Zhi Nu” because – according to ancient Chinese legend – today is the day she gets to see her beloved husband. They only get to see each other once a year thanks to her incredibly overbearing and intrusive mother. See story below:
The Goddess of Heaven had seven beautiful, young daughters. The seven daughters came down to earth. They decided to bathe in a pristine river, leaving their clothes on the shore. Along came a cow herder named “Niu Lang”. Â He took their clothes to see what they would do. The daughters decided that the youngest, and most beautiful, Â named Zhi NÃ¼ should go out of the water and recover their clothes. Because Niu Lang saw her naked, they had to get married. They fell madly in love, and shared several years of marital bliss.
Finally, her mother became irritated by her absence from Heaven, and ordered her to return. Seeing how much Zhi NÃ¼ missed her husband, the Goddess of Heaven brought the couple back together. Ultimately, Zhi NÃ¼ was allowed to visit her husband, Niu Lang, just once a year. The annual reunion occurs on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Lunar Calendar.
Man. How’s that for a conjugal visit? I think there would be a lot less divorce in the world if we could only see our spouses once a year. But, then again, there is that horrible mother-in-law factor. That, in itself, might drive them apart permanently. Oy.
We’re sitting in the hospital with Ben waiting for his bone marrow biopsy. He just had his exam, had his port accessed and is currently playing a Nintendo game (I know! Shocking!). I’m so thankful for handheld electronics. Better “coping” through technology, right? As I look around this pediatric oncology unit I see gazillions of dollars worth of laptops, iPads, cell phones, Nintendos… it makes me wonder how anyone got through these long days at the hospital before portable technology? I guess we’d be forced to communicate with each other. And really, who wants to do that? It’s just so much easier to delve into our electronic devices.
Distractions. We all need them. I wonder what Zhi Nu did with all of her downtime? Did she cut out little hearts and paste them around the walls of her palace? Did she write in her journal? Practice her married name? I can see it now – Mrs. Zhi Nu-Lang. Or Mr. and Mrs. Niu Lang, Herder of Cows and Princess of Heaven. Maybe the cow herder was progressive enough to take her last name? That would make him Prince Niu Nu-Lang. I wonder if he kept his day job of being a cow herder after marrying into royalty? Did she send him support checks each month? And did he ever give up the nasty habit of stealing fair maidens’ clothes from riverbanks? That could be a point of contention in any marriage.
This endless barrage of bizarre questions floating through my head is what I do to get through my stress-laden downtime.
In fact, my Bean just got sedated and his parents were banished to the land of waiting. I better end this post now before I get really weird.
So, however you choose to spend this Chinese Valentine’s Day, whether it’s by celebrating love, or just eating some great Chinese food, be sure to make the most of it.