10 Traditional Qixi Festival Foods
1. Qiaoguo (Qixi Pastry) – Ingenuity and Intelligence
Taste: Sweet and crispy with a sesame flavor
Qiaoguo is the representative Qixi Festival food. The main materials for it are flour, sesame, sugar and honey. The method is to wrap the sesames in the flour dough, fry it, and then serve it on the plate. In Shandong, people shape the Qiaoguo with a mold made from jujube wood or pear wood before baking. On the festival, people can also give Qiaoguo to friends, called “Song Qiao”, meaning sending ingenuity and intelligence.
In the rural areas of Shanghai, there is such a custom that newly married women bring Qiaoguo to their husbands' home from their parents' home on that day. It is also a must for the Qixi Festival in Shaoxing, and a gift from the elder relatives to the children in Wenzhou.
2. Sugar Shaped like Women
Auspicious Meaning: Ingenuity, happy marriage…
Girls eat it on Qixi Festival hoping that they would be more ingenious. There are also sugar made into the shapes of the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, with the wishes of happy marriage.
Taste: Generally salty
Auspicious Meaning: Talent, ingenuity, love, happy marriage…
Chinese people love Dumplings very much, especially in the northern regions. Whenever it is an important day, they would eat dumplings. On the Qixi Festival, they put some additional things in the dumplings for good wishes, such as coins, needles, red dates, longans and others. The girls who eat dumplings with coins would have the literary talent, the ones who eat dumplings with needles would have ingenuity, the ones who eat dumplings with red dates would fall in love, and the ones who eat dumplings with longans would have a happy marriage.
4. Five Kinds of Nuts – Longans, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Melon Seeds, Red Dates
Auspicious Meaning: To help realize wishes
On the Qixi Festival, people need to worship the Weaver Girl with five kinds of nuts as sacrifices. The five kinds of nuts include longans, hazelnuts, peanuts, melon seeds and red dates. After the worship, these would become Chinese Valentine’s Day food. Upon eating them, the wishes one has made at the worship ceremony will be realized.
5. Cloud Noodles
Taste: Salty, spicy or sour
Auspicious Meaning: Cleverness
This is a special Qixi Festival food for people in Linyi of Shandong Province. Dews would be added into flour while making the cloud noodles, and it is expected that eating it one can become cleverer.
6. Sprouts Noodles
Taste: Generally salty
Auspicious Meaning: Ingenuity
There is a Qixi tradition of eating sprouts. The bean sprouts used to make the Sprouts Noodles should be made one week in advance. When the bean sprouts grow to two or three centimeters, they would be stir fried with some vinegar. Then, boil the hand-made noodles, cool it down in cold water, move the noodles into the bowl, add the diced meat, bean sprouts and seasonings, and you can enjoy the delicious Qixi Festival food.
Taste: Generally salty
Auspicious Meaning: Happy marriage
There is the legend of the Cowherd and Weaver Girl. Qixi Festival is the only day in a year when the two lovers can meet each other. If the rooster will not call as the daybreak on that day, there would be no separation between them. Therefore, on the festival day, people would kill the rooster to pray that lovers would never be separated.
8. Patterned Melons
Auspicious Meaning: Ingenuity, Smartness
How to make the patterned melons? People carve melons into flowers, birds, couples and other fantastic shapes, or emboss these patterns on the surface of melons. There are also other auspicious patterns for good luck. It is said eating patterned melons on the festival day would pass others’ ingenuity to yourself so as to make you become smarter.
9. Glutinous Rice Sticks
Taste: Sweet, soft
Auspicious Meaning: Sweet love
The main ingredients of Glutinous Rice Sticks are glutinous rice, soy flour, malt and syrup. The method of making it is mixing all the materials into a dough and letting it grow, then cutting it into pieces and rounding into strips or sticks. After that, fry them and sprinkle some sugar. As a Chinese Valentine’s Day food, Glutinous Rice Sticks means the wishes of sweet love.
10. Fried Bean Tea (Fried Peanuts with Syrup)
Auspicious Meaning: Sweet love and sweet life
People in Tong’an, Xiamen will make Fried Bean Tea on Qixi Festival, meaning sweet love and sweet life. How to make the traditional Qixi Festival food? Pour peanuts into an iron pan and fry them, then peel off the skin of fried peanuts after they have cooled down. Pour the maltose and sugar into the boiling water and mix them completely. Finally pour the peanuts into the mixture and stir well. After cooling, the Fried Bean Tea is prepared.