Another romantic day to celebrate this year. Happy Chinese Valentine's day - 23 August 2012 (Qīxī Jié (七夕節)
云冈石窟 - Yúngāng Shíkū, About 16km of Datong - cave 3
Yungang Grottoes were built against the mountain and extend about 1 km from east to west.
The Buddha's right hand is raised in abhaya mudra, the left in an unusual open posture. Small holes in the body once held pegs with attached plaster.
It took me a while to find out whta's going on during this festival. I was biking home
and kept seeing Chinese people burning things in the middle of the streets. Mostly old people. I stopped to talk to several people I bumped into to ask them what it was all about. The 3rd person (actually a couple) explained to me that during this night, the door to hell is opened and ghosts can come to earth. Burning papers etc. is like giving offerings to the ghosts, so that they go back to, I'm not sure, the ghost world I guess. The girl told me that her generation do not do it at all and ended us saying: "Its an old tradition that does not make sense to me!"
I bumped into this Chinese couple in an indoor market. Their T-shirt were matching and it reminded me that it was Chinese Valentine's day today. It falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar.
The legend says that Niulang, a cowherd, married Zhinü, a fairy girl. They were happy until the Goddess of Heaven found out that Niulang was a mortal and sent the girl back to heaven. Niulang was still on earth, alone and sad about the situation.
One day, hix ox told him that if he would kill him, he's be able to go see his wife there. Which he did - He went to heaven to meet his wife. The goddess discovered he was with her and by anger, created a river into the sky to separate Niulang and Zhinu.
But once a year all the magpies in the world fly up into heaven to make a bridge over the stars so that the couple can be together again, for a single night, which is the 7th night of the 7th moon.