The romantic and tender side of Chinese people
Did you know that around the world China is a country who pays a great deal of attention to romantic festivals? For a foreigner this is very impressing, as this shows how romantic and gentle are the Chinese people.
The first love festival is Valentine’s Day, which is always on February 14. Valentine’s Day is also celebrated in China, even though the Qixi Festival is considered more important. Like in the west, many couples go out on this day and buy gifts for each other.
According to historical facts, Valentine's Day first appeared in Rome in the third century, under the rule of Emperor Claudius II. As a result of his belief that single men or unmarried men were better warriors, Claudius forbade young men from getting married in order to keep them focused and free from any familial distractions. A young priest by the name of Valentine thought the rule was unfair and started disobeying the emperor’s order by continuing to officiate secret marriages for young couples. Valentine was eventually captured by Claudius, imprisoned shortly after, and executed on February 14, 270 AD. While incarcerated, Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter. Before his execution he wrote a letter and signed "From your Valentine"; which is the standard greeting we now use on this day of the year.
On Valentine’s Day, streets are filled with heart-shaped decorations, big red paper hearts are on every window, huge fluffy bears are on sale, in every pastry there is the sweet smell of heart shaped cakes. Couples have dinner, watch movies, go to the amusement park, play games together, take a stroll and do so many other fun activities together. During this time, many couples that have a long-distance relationship travel so they can meet their significant other. Thus, at the airport, for example, there can be seen many boys and girls waiting for each other and holding flowers and heart shaped balloons.
There are also some weird Valentine’s Day traditions around the world. For example, on Easter, secret lovers in Norway often write cutesy short poems to the person they want, with a dot for each letter of the recipient's name as the sole indication of who they are. The receiver gets an Easter egg if they correctly determine who wrote the poem. If she doesn’t know who it is, the man reveals himself, admitting he wrote the poem and the lady has to give him an egg. Egg are rounds, exactly as the shape of the engagement rings and symbolize a love that last forever. The Easter eggs bring joy and happiness.
In Germany, couples prepare for each other giant heart-shaped ginger biscuits. The biscuits have a ribbon attached so the lucky person may wear it over their shoulders. The ribbon is usually red as red is the color of true love and with white flowers that are a symbol of purity. A pure and genuine love is the most beautiful thing in the world!
Valentine's Day has a short period of time in other countries. But in China, Valentine's Day seems to last for weeks, with couple discounts and a plentifulness of events for this celebration. It's not just about business, it's about offering people the right opportunities to express their love. Gifts are just a small symbol of their feelings.
The traditional Qixi Festival and the modern 520 not only kept the rich tradition, but also integrate it into the modern society. In modern society, many countries ignore their own traditions in favor of other highly demanded celebrations.
“520” sounds phonetically very close to “I Love You” in Chinese. Even though it is not an official public holiday, many restaurants and cinemas are very crowded on this day. 20 May is considered a day of opportunity for men to express their love for girls in China. On this day, girls receive gifts, and even some Chinese people choose to hold weddings on this day.
Furthermore, more Chinese couples celebrate Qixi Festival. This is the Chinese Valentine’s Day. Legend says that the Weaver Girl in the sky and the Cowherd on the ground fell in love after they met. They got married and had two children, but when the Queen Mother found out that Zhinhu had married an ordinary mortal, she took Zhinhu back to the sky and used a vast Tianhe (nowadays known as the Milky Way), to separate the two of them. The magpies were touched by their love, so 10,000 magpies built a bridge of magpies to let the two meet across the river. Later, the Queen Mother finally understood their love and agreed to let them meet at the Magpie Bridge every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.
During Qixi Festival, many couples post photos with their lover on WeChat, to share their love with their friends. As this is the most popular love festival in China, if you go out on the streets on this day, you will see many couples, so if you’re single, it is better you not go out or you will feel worse from seeing so much sweetness from all the couples.