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Valentine’s Day As Usual In China (Or Is It?) by Achelle Vinzon
“Qíng-rén-jié kuài-lè or!”  Or, “Ching-rnn-jyeh kwhy-ler!”  This is how the Chinese say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”  Just like other popular western holidays, Valentine’s Day has been adopted by the Chinese and celebrated in most of the biggest cities in China.  Valentine’s Day in China has its usual western attributes: the giving of flowers, chocolates, cards, or other gifts to loved ones, especially one’s partner; romantic dinners; and movie dates.  Because the feast of St. Valentine is considered as a day dedicated to love, or romantic love to be specific, many Chinese also choose this day to file for a marriage registration if February 14th happens to fall on a work day. 

More than any other day (except, perhaps, for the Double Seven Festival or Qixi Festival, which is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day), February 14th is when many Chinese men show their romantic side.  This day also gives many single Chinese males an excuse and the courage to express their intentions to a lady they’re attracted to, by sending her flowers and a card.  Of course, for western men with Chinese girlfriends or wives, being romantic, or more romantic than usual, on this day is supposed to be a given.

Vday in China really isn't much different than in the west.On the days leading up to Valentine’s Day and during the day itself, the sale of flowers, especially roses, go up.  The increased demand, naturally, also means higher prices.  Restaurants and hotels take part in this romantic occasion, as well, and take the occasion to raise their prices.  They often offer special Valentine’s Day dinner packages, with hotels also throwing in special room rates and other services for couples. 

As to be expected, restaurants and hotels become very busy during this day of hearts and are often already fully booked days before.  Men who wish to treat their special lady to a memorable Valentine’s Day date must remember to make their reservations early. 

With many of the Chinese today having developed a taste for the lavish lifestyle, many establishments, especially in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing, cater to their expensive needs and offer extravagant romantic date options for couples, such as pricey gourmet meals that feature foie gras, oysters, truffles, and wagyu beef ornately plated to go with the romantic theme of the occasion. 
Some Chinese men, perhaps making up for their romantic shortcomings the rest of the year, go over the top and order dozens of roses for a single lady.  Over the years, they have also embraced as part of Valentine’s Day traditions the giving of flowers, cards, and/or chocolates to female members of their family, particularly their mothers and sisters. 
Watching a movie is another common way that the Chinese celebrate this day of love with their partner.  For this reason, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for cinemas in China’s biggest metropolises.  Likewise, supermarkets and other stores also experience a boost in sales, with chocolates, jewelry, and other gifts being bought left and right by those with a special someone, or a few of them, in their lives. 

While the Chinese have warmly embraced the traditions associated with Valentine’s Day, it’s unavoidable that some Chinese beliefs have also been incorporated, particularly with regards to the practice of giving gifts.    

If you trying to say "I Love You" to your Chinese girlfriend, be sure to get the colours and numbers right with the roses you send her.For western men dating a Chinese woman or with a Chinese girlfriend or wife, do not make the mistake of sending your special lady a bouquet of yellow roses, unless you want to spend Valentine’s Day consoling a sobbing and brokenhearted woman.  In China, yellow roses are an expression of a person’s intention to break up. They do not say "Love". Do not forget that different colors hold different meanings in Chinese culture. 

The Chinese phrase for “breaking up” also sounds the same as the Chinese word for “umbrella,” san.  Umbrellas are also the worst choice for a Valentine’s Day gift, even if it’s a Louis Vuitton or Gucci parasol. 

Likewise, giving your special someone a pair of shoes may also be taken the wrong way, because shoes as a gift is considered bad luck in a relationship.  But if they’re an expensive and branded pair (Jimmy Choos, perhaps?), your lady love will more likely be ecstatic and love you more for it.  The bad luck can be nullified by her giving you 1 yuan for the shoes. 

Here are a few romantic Chinese films that are highly recommended for Valentine’s Day:
·        A Chinese Odyssey Part One: Pandora’s Box; Part Two: Cinderella
·        Cape No. 7
·        If You Are the One
·        Sophie’s Revenge
·        Love Is Not Blind
·        You are the Apple of My Eye

Here are some romantic Chinese sayings that will be perfect for a Valentine’s Day card:

·        Wŏ àishàng quán shìjiè zuì mĕide nǚrén.
          I am in love with the most beautiful woman in the world.

·        Nĭ hueì yŭnxŭ wŏ ài nĭ mă.
          Would you allow me to love you?

·        Nĭ shì wŏ de gōngzhŭ. Wŏ kĕyĭ zuò nĭ de wángzĭ mă?
          You are my princess. Can I be your prince?

·        Īdàn wŏ qiānzhù nĭde shŏu wŏ jioù bù hueì ràng nĭ zŏu.
          Once I hold your hand, I will never let you go.

·        Wŏ xiăngyào bàojĭn nĭ bìng qīnwĕn nĭ, gănshòu nĭ zuĭchúnde wēnnuăn.
          I would like to hold you tight and kiss you, feel the warmth of your lips.

·        Nĭde xiàoróng shĭ wŏ găndào wēnnuăn.
          Your smile makes my heart warm.

·        Wŏ yāo mĕi tiān zài nĭ shēn páng xĭnglái.
          I want to wake up beside you every day.  (Source)

Valentine’s Day in China is not only for couples.  For China’s countless singles, this day serves as an impetus for them to more aggressively look for a mate.  This means that China’s matchmaking industry also becomes very busy on this day.  Big and small matchmaking events are held all over the country to take advantage of this increased drive to find a life partner.  And not surprisingly, many Chinese parents grab this opportunity to set up their still-single children on blind dates.     

Have you made Valentine’s Day plans yet?  Do you have a memorable Valentine’s Day experience with a Chinese woman that you can share here?  Please do so in the comments section below.  

From: Original         Author: Achelle Vinzon         Time: 2/12/2014 5:03:05 PM

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#2014-02-14 22:49:00 by panda2009 @panda2009
Reply In the long ancient society of China, the Lantern Festival was the true Valentine's Day. East and west two Valentine's Day meet this year, the day and year didn't see more before! We should have a great celebration, especially the couple and lovers.
#2014-02-16 14:21:00 by Barry1 @Barry1
Reply @achelle

Yet another interesting article, Achelle - thanks for sharing some insights into Valentine's Day, particularly as it refers to China.

Being a big softy at heart, I sent several of my Chinese lady friends some Valentine's Day gifts these past few days. Because I didn't want to show favoritism, I sent each of them the same presents. These included a nice big bunch of bright yellow roses; plus a lovely big yellow matching umbrella. And on the way to the mail centre, I walked past a discount shoe shop, so decided to add two or three pairs of cheap shoes with the gift, just to make sure the ladies would be doubly happy. I figured they wouldn't recognise a cheap pair of shoes from an expensive pair, after all. I had even smiled inwardly at myself for being so smart and value conscious.

Since then however, I've heard nothing back from my friends. Except for one or two strange midnight phone calls. When I've picked up the phone, all I've heard was intense sobbing and the gnashing of teeth, so I immediately hung up each time. After these strange and somewhat disturbing calls were repeated a few times - with me slamming down the phone each time - thank heaven they've finally stopped.

Though I digress. I'm now sitting here scratching my noggin as to why none of my dear friends have cheerily called me to give thanks for their wonderful Valentine's Day gifts. Unless it was the large, dead stuffed rat that I also included in each of the parcels? Being an avid student of taxidermy, I thought perhaps the ladies would very much have appreciated receiving an only ever so slightly decomposed, glassy eyed rodent with their Valentine's Day gifts?

Suggestions anyone? Why haven't any of my lovely Chinese ladies contacted me as yet, offering sincere gratitude for their presents, I wonder?

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