Ingenuity Test by Floating Needle
Ingenuity test by floating needle is one of the common customs on the festival. Put some water in a vessel and leave it in the open air until it is covered by a film of dust. Then cast a needle or thin straw on it to see the pattern of the shadow at the bottom, so as to test their ingenuity.
Pleading for Skills by Threading a Needle
In order to plead for skills, threading a needle is the most long-standing means. It tests the speed of threading a needle under the moon. It is said that the needles used in the contest are the seven-hole needle of the Han Dynasty or the nine-tail needle of the Yuan Dynasty. With more holes than ordinary needles, they are rather hard to handle.
Cobweb as the Determinant
Pleading for skills with cobweb is another common custom in the festival, in which everybody puts a spider into a locket and waits until the next morning to see if there is cobweb and if any, how it looks. The one with a most round cobweb of the most mesh will be the winner.
Contest Banquet in the Palace
The contest banquet was held in the palace in the Yuan Dynasty on the festival. Before the banquet games were played to test ingenuity. The contest goes like this: when ribbons were scattered down from a streamers-decorated tower, the palace maids shall contend to pick them up, and the one getting the most flamboyant ribbon shall be the winner.
Qiaoguo (Fried Thin Pastes) is in different shapes with the materials mostly being oil, flour, sugar and honey. Generally Qiaoguo are made into a shuttle shape and deep-fried into a golden color. The deft hands will nip them into all shapes related to the legend of the Festival. The melons and fruits used on the day are usually carved into the shapes of flowers and birds, or carved with patterns in relief on the melon peel, which are therefore called "carved melons".
The custom of eating propitious dumplings in some places is rather fun: several girls, always the close friends, get together and make dumplings, while a copper coin, a needle and a red date will be put into three dumplings respectively. After the pleading activities, they will eat the dumplings together. It is said that the one gets the coin will enjoy blessings, the one gets needle will have deft hands, and the one gets the date will have an early marriage.
Before the seventh-sister party is held, girls will prepare all kinds of bright "incense burner table" to offer sacrifice to Niulang and Zhinv from afar. The tables are made of paper and full of flowers, fruits, rouge powder, small paper clothes, commodities and embroideries.
In some places, the custom of catching dew with a basin is practiced during the festival. It’s said that the dews on the Double Seventh Day are the tears of the couple upon their meeting, which will make our hands dexterous and eyes bright if they are rubbed respectively to the two organs.