Asian Valentine Day


According to the Lunar Calendar, today is July 7th which is called Chilseok (칠석),   a Korean traditional festival . Not only Korea but also other Asian countries like Vietnam, Chinese, Japan celebrate this festival.  Therefore, some people also call that it is the Asian Valentine Day.

There are many stories about this day, but mostly about a girl called Jingnyeo(직녀) and a boy called Gyeonu(견우) who are separated. It is said that on that day, magpies and crows will fly up to the Milky Way to form a bridge called Ojakgyo (오작교)  for Jingnyeo and Gyeonu to walk across so that they can meet each other.  People also believe that the rain on that day is the tears of that couple.

 In Vietnam, this day is called “That tich”. On this day (July 7th), people often go to the pagoda to wish for love. “Ha” Pagoda in Hanoi is definitely the destination for people to wish and pray for love. There is a story about this pagoda. When Ly Thanh Tong (1054 – 1072), a Vietnamese King, was 42 years old but did not have children, so he went to that pagoda to pray and finally he had a son. Therefore, many people went to that pagoda to pray for love and happiness.

Today in the afternoon in Vietnam, there was a sudden heavy downpour of rain.  The rain was so heavy that only after 30 minutes, the streets are flooded . While others seem annoyed because of getting soaked, many children were seen playing in knee-deep rainwater. Somehow everybody thinks that the heavy rain is related to the tears of that couple. I am a kind of romantic girl, but I still cannot endure the rain because it is really hard to wade or ride in the knee-deep water. Every drop of rain lashed at my face like a sharp needle. The dazzling white raindrops blurred my glasses, which made me hardly control the motorbike. Some streets flooded with yellowish water sloshing around under my feet. Whenever a car crossed, it splashed various puddles of water on me. I went back home and totally get soaked. My schoolbag was also wet with the rain too. After that, the rain ceased and the clouds drifted away. However later light drizzle fell in the evening. But at that time, I was tucked in my bed with hot chocolate milk, so I was gazing at the drizzle outside the window and started to day-dream about the story of  Jingnyeo and Gyeonu. :X


I also searched about customs and foods on Chilseok and I was interested in the wheat pancake called milijeonbyeong (밀전병). However, it looks like a roll or Kimpab rather than a pancake. Seeing its photos, I really wish I could be able to taste once.


wheat pancake called milijeonbyeong (밀전병).
wheat pancake called milijeonbyeong (밀전병).


wheat pancake called milijeonbyeong (밀전병).
wheat pancake called milijeonbyeong (밀전병).

Google Doodle also celebrates 2013 Chilseok (칠석) festival. You can watch from this clip. It is really very cute ^^

For the whole story of Chilseok, you can read this story (in English and Korean) from the website


“Chilseok – The Passing of Summer

A long time ago, in the heavenly kingdom ruled a wise and just ruler.  He had a beautiful daughter named Jiknyeo.  On her star, Jiknyeo weaved the most beautiful cloths that captured the very beauty of the stars, the moon, and even the sun itself!  Everyone loved the cloth that Jiknyeo weaved!  The Heavenly King was very proud of his daughter.

After a day of weaving cloths, Jiknyeo went outside of her workshop.  It was a beautiful spring day.  

‘Ah, what a nice day to be stuck inside,’ thought Jiknyeo.  Her arms were sore from working all day long, so she decided to stretch and take a break.  As she was stretching, she looked outside her window to the Milky Way, the river of the heavenly kingdom.

All of a sudden, she felt her heart beat so rapidly.  She happened to spy up on a handsome young shepard.  

‘Oh my!  He will be my future husband!  He’s so handsome!’

She ran to her father, the Heavenly King, and asked his permission to marry the young man!

“You mean Gyeonwu?” replied the King, with a great laughter. “Yes, he’s a very righteous young man, very kind, very studious, very diligent.  I was just thinking the same as well, my daughter.”

He immediately allowed the two to be engaged, and soon they were married.

The couple couldn’t bear to be apart from one another, not even for one minute!  Gyeonwu didn’t tend to his flock of sheep and cow, and soon, they were dying!  Jiknyeo no longer weaved her beautiful cloth, and soon, the people of the heavenly kingdom ran out of clothes to wear!  And as the heavenly kingdom was in such a mess, so was the earth beneath!  So much rain and wind!  And even earthquakes!  It was a disaster!

“Oh our Merciful Heavenly King!” cried the people of earth. “Heaven help us!  Have mercy on us and give us your blessings!  Please stop the rains and the earthquakes!”

When these cries reached the ears of the Heavenly King, he was furious!  

“Bring me Gyeonwu and Jiknyeo, now!” the King demanded.

The guards brought the couple to the King.  To the couple, the King declared:

“Because you two have been lazy, the earth below has been thrown in chaos!  I can not allow you two to be together.  Therefore, Jiknyeo, you will live on the west side of the Milky Way and continue your duties.  You, Gyeonwu, will live on the east side of the Milky Way and tend to your flock!”

The couple begged for the King’s forgiveness, but it fell on deaf ears.  But, the King was moved by their love for one another and allowed one concession.

“I will be merciful and allow you two to meet, on the seventh day of the seventh month of each year.”  

The couple was separated.  They worked through the year, anticipating the day that they would meet again.  

When that seventh day of the seventh month came, they ran to the Milky Way to see one another.  However, they found the Milky Way blocking them.  The couple could do nothing but cry.

Just then, a flock of crows and magpies saw the crying couple.   

“Hey, let’s go help them!” said one of the birds.  The rest agreed and flew.  They soon formed a bridge across the Milky Way, and the couple was soon reunited in joy and happpiness, for that one day.  

Every year, the crows and the magpies form the bridge for the heavenly couple, so that they may enjoy the day together.  Ever notice how crows and magpies have no feathers on their head after this day?  It is because they help Gyeonwu and Jiknyeo cross the Milky Way!

This was Chilseok, the seventh day of the seventh month, came to be.

먼 옛날, 하늘과 땅을 다스리는 옥황 상제에게 예쁜 딸이 하나 있었어요. 그 딸의 이름은 직녀였어요. 직녀는 하루 종일 자기의 별에 앉아서 베 짜는 일을 하며 살고 있었어요. 직녀는 옷감을 짜면서 그 안에 달의 그림자, 해의 반짝임, 하늘을 도는 별자리들이 모습을 짜 넣었어요. 직녀가 짠 옷감은 정말 눈부실 만큼 아름다워서 모두들 넋을 잃고 바라보았지요. 옥황 상제는 이런 딸의 모습을보고 무척 대견스러워했어요. 

그런데 따사로운 햇볕이 가득 내리쬐던 어느 화창한 봄날이었어요.

‘아이, 지루해. 하루 종일 베만 짰더니 정말 재미없구나.’

직녀는 베를 짜는 일이 지겨워졌어요. 하루 종일 앉아만 있었더니  팔다리가 저리고 아프기도 했어요. 직녀는 일어나서 기지개를 켜면서 창 밖을 내다보았어요. 창 밖으로 하늘의 강인 은하수가 아름답게 흐르고 있었어요.

그런데 무심코 은하수 건너편을 바라보던 직녀의 가슴이 콩콩 뛰기 시작했어요. 그 곳에는 멋진 청년이 하늘의 양과 소를 몰고 있었던 거예요.

‘아! 분명히 저 분은 내 남편이 되실 분이야. 어쩌면 저렇게 멋질 수가 있을까?’

직녀는 첫눈에 그 청년이 자기의 남편이 될 운명이라는 것을 알아보았어요. 그래서 직녀는 곧 옥황 상제에게 달려가 간청을 했어요.

“아바 마마, 저 은하수 건너편에 살고 있는 청년과 결혼을 하고 싶어요. 허락해 주세요.”

“허허. 견우 말이로구나. 그래, 그 청년은 아주 착하고 부지런한 젊은이지. 네가 아주 잘 보았구나. 그러지 않아도 너의 신랑감으로 잘 
어울릴 거라고 생각하고 있었단다.”

옥황 상제는 견우가 아주 마음에 들었던 터라 곧 견우와 직녀를 혼인시켜 주었어요. 

결혼을 하고 나자 견우와 직녀는 서로 사랑해서 잠시도 떨어져 있으려 

하지 않았어요. 그러다 보니 둘 다 해야 할 일을 제대로 할 수가 없었지요.  직녀는 그 전처럼 베를 열심히 짜지 않았기 때문에 하늘 나라 사람들의 옷이 부족해지기 시작했어요. 견우의 소와 양들은 병에 걸려 시름시름 앓고 농작물들도 말라 죽어 갔어요. 

하늘 나라가 혼란스러워지자 땅의 세상도 어지러워졌어요. 비와 바람이 그치지 앟고 지진에 홍수까지 밀어닥치자 사람들은 살기가 어려워졌어요.

“옥황 상제님! 도대체 어떻게 된 일인가요? 우리들은 이제 다 굶어 죽게 생겼답니다. 제발 저희들을 굽어 살펴 주세요!”

사람들은 슬픈 목소리로 옥황 상제에게 호소를 했어요. 사람들의 사정을들은 옥황 상제는 몹시 화가 났지요.

“여봐라! 당장 견우와 직녀를 데려오너라.”

옥황 상제는 견우와 직녀를 꿇어 앉혀 놓고 말했어요.

“견우와 직녀는 듣거라. 너희들이 그동안 게으름을 피우는 바람에 세상은 큰 혼란에 빠지게 되었다. 이제부터 너희들은 함께 있으면 안 되겠다. 직녀너는 은하수 서쪽에서 베를 짜고, 견우는 은하수 동쪽에서 살도록 해라!”

이 말을 들은 견우와 직녀는 하늘이 무너지는 것 같았어요.

“제발 저희들을 용서해 주세요.”

“아버님, 저희들은 정말 떨어져서는 살 수가 없어요!”

견우와 직녀는 눈물을 흘리면서 용서를 빌었지만 옥황 상제의 마음은 움직이지를 않았어요. 대신 옥황 상제는 두 사람의 애타는 마음을 헤아려 한 가지는 허락해 주었어요.

“내 너희들을 가엾게 여겨 일 년에 딱 한 번만은 만나게 해 주겠다. 그 날은 일곱 번째 달 일곱 번째 날이다.”

그 후 견우와 직녀는 은하수를 사이에 두고 떨어져 살면서 다시 만날 날을 안타깝게 기다렸어요. 견우와 직녀가 일 년에 단 한 번 만날 수 있는 음력 칠월 칠일이 바로 칠석날이지요.

그러나 견우과 직녀가 일 년을 기다려 서로를 만나기 위해 나왔을 때는 은하수가 두 사람 사이를 가로막고 있었어요. 두 사람이 슬프게 울면서 멀리서 바라보고 있을 수 밖에 없었지요. 이 모습을 본 까마귀와 까치들은 두 사람이 너무 불쌍했어요.

“얘들아, 우리가 다리를 놓아 저 둘을 만나게 해 주자!” 

“그래, 그것 참 좋은 생각하야.”

까마귀와 까치들은 곧 서로의 몸을 이어 다리를 만들었어요. 그 다리를 ‘까마귀 오(烏)’, ‘까치 작(鵲)’ 자를 써서 ‘오작교’라고 해요. 그 후 견우와 직녀는 매년 까마귀와 까치 덕분에 서로 만날 수 있었다고 해요.

그런데 칠월 칠석 다음 날에는 까마귀와 까치들의 머리가 하얗게 벗겨져 있다고 해요. 왜냐구요? 그건 바로 견우과 직녀가 까마귀와 까치의 머리를 밟고 지나갔기 때문이래요.”


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