Who doesn’t love a holiday filled with heart-shaped cards, balloons, chocolates, and flowers? For most countries, Valentine’s day is fast approaching and it is exciting to once again see business places and homes adorned with beautiful decorations. But how much do you know about Valentine’s Day traditions in China?
It is always refreshing to see a holiday where everyone can celebrate love and admiration for romantic partners, friends, and family around the world. One country that has an interesting way of celebrating this holiday in China. Interestingly, China has about six different Valentine’s Day Celebrations, all on separate dates throughout the year. Let’s explore what a few of these celebrations are all about.
Interesting Valentine’s Day Traditions in China
One Chinese Valentine’s Day is also known as the Qixi Festival. It generally falls on the 7th day of the 7th Chinese lunar month (August). This festival is based on a romantic legend about two stars represented by a weaver girl and an ox herd.
The legend revolves around the romance of Zhinü, the weaver girl, and Niulang, the cowherd. Zhinü descended to earth and defied the rules of heaven by falling in love with the mortal Niulang, Zhinü’s mother, the Goddess of Heaven, soon found out that her daughter had married a mortal and sent soldiers after her.
Their love was forbidden, so they were both exiled to opposite ends of the celestial river or Milky Way. A flock of birds would create a bridge once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, to reunite the lovers for one single day.
This festival has been celebrated since the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). This year it will be celebrated on August 4, 2022.
How The Qixi Festival is Celebrated
Since China’s globalization, The Qixi Festival is more commonly called Chinese Valentine’s Day. Instead of the traditional practices, locals commonly celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day by sending flowers, chocolates, and other gifts to their loved ones.
During this period, merchants sell more chocolate and balloons than usual. Cinemas will be more crowded and the prices of flowers (particularly roses) may be substantially higher. Many restaurants, particularly those in bigger cities, will be more expensive and feature uniquely set menus.
The Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year (February 15). This festival, also known as the Yuanxiao Festival, is the last important festival for the Chinese New Year.
During this celebration, everyone comes out to admire the lights and decipher the riddles on the lanterns. Even women that don’t go out on regular days come out. Making it a good opportunity for lovers to meet or date. There were countless episodes of lovers’ displays of affection during the Lantern Festival in old poetry, operas, and numerous books. As a result, the Lantern Festival is similar to a Chinese Valentine’s Day.
On this day, Chinese people eat yuan-siu. Yuan-siu are round rice balls with peanuts or sesame seeds. Eating rice balls represents unity and a spirit of togetherness.
White Valentine’s Day
If there’s one thing we can determine about Chinese culture, it’s that they take the time out to celebrate their loved ones throughout the year. They celebrate Chinese White Valentine’s Day exactly a month after Valentine’s Day in the Western world, on March 14. They celebrate the tradition throughout Asia, including Japan, and South Korea,
In most Asian countries the idea of Valentine’s Day celebrations took quite a while to catch on. While initiatives to commemorate Valentine’s Day began in Japan, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it gained traction.
Only women offered presents to the people they cared about on Valentine’s Day during the time. So, on March 14, a marshmallow firm launched a campaign encouraging males who got presents on Valentine’s Day to reciprocate by presenting marshmallows to their loved ones. And thus the concept of White Day emerged.
Let’s Wrap Up
China has so many exciting holidays, all celebrating a different aspect of love! We love a country that is vibrant and festive. Maybe this Valentine’s Day or any other Chinese Valentine’s day you can book a trip to China and experience their traditions first-hand! We hear the Lantern Festival is just beautiful!
Wanting to be a part of different traditions all over the globe is an experience we encourage. Our job at Day Translations is to connect you with the rest of the world by offering you the best professional translation services for all your translation needs.
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