Events, Lifestyle, Stories

7 Valentine’s Days that the Chinese Celebrate

The most romantic day of the year has finally arrived! Or has it? 

In China, couples like to celebrate their romances a little more often than the rest of the world. As a result, they have a couple more versions of Valentine’s Days than others, totaling a staggering amount of seven love-filled holidays to keep track of!


Valentine’s Day (情人节)

Pinyin: qíngrén jié
Date: February 14

Recognized and celebrated all over the world, Valentine’s Day is an imported holiday from the West. Despite its foreign roots, however, the day has been warmly welcomed by the Chinese. Nowadays, it definitely wouldn’t be uncommon to see couples dining out or going to the cinema together for some quality romance. 


Source: Dallas Reedy of Unsplash


Lantern Festival (元宵节)

Pinyin: yuán xiāo jié
Date: February 26 (for 2021)

The Lantern Festival, also known as the Yuanxiao Festival, is a Chinese holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month. Popular among lovers, friends, and family, the occasion is an opportunity for lovers, friends, and families to spend time with each other. 

Common activities during the festival include sending up flying lanterns, solving lantern riddles, and eating sweet glutinous rice balls named tangyuan or yuanxiao.  


Source: Afar


White Day (白色情人节)

Pinyin: bái sè qíng rén jié
Date: March 14

Set exactly one month after February 14, White Day is a romantic date for those who have received gifts on Valentine’s Day to reciprocate the other person’s efforts. Traditionally, women are thought to give presents on Valentine’s Day while men prepare their reciprocal equivalent on White Day. 

Though the holiday originated in Japan, White Day has since spread to other neighboring Asian territories, including China, South Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan. 


White Day presents. Source: Roseonly


Double Third Festival (三月三)

Pinyin: sān yuè sān
Date: April 14 (for 2021)

The Double Third Festival, alternatively referred to as the Shangsi Festival (上巳节), is an ancient Chinese festival traditionally celebrated on the third day of the third lunar month to commemorate the birthday of the Yellow Emperor, the ancestor of the Chinese people. The occasion has also been used as an opportunity to take part in rituals that would cleanse disease and ill-fortune. 

Though no longer practiced as much as the other holidays on this list, the Double Third Festival is noted for activities including waterside outings, picnics, and orchid plucking. It has also become an opportunity for single men and women to express their love for each other. 


Double Third Festival traditions. Source: Sohu


520 (520情人节)

Pinyin: wǔ èr líng qíng rén jié
Date: May 20

520, pronounced as wu er ling in Mandarin, is often used as slang for the similar-sounding 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ), which translates to “I love you.” The connection between the two phrases was popularized by Taiwanese singer Fan Xiaolan’s song “Digital Love.” 

Later on, “521” was also given the meaning “I am willing” and “I love you” among lovers in China. Because of this, both May 20 and May 21 have been dubbed as Network Valentine’s Day (网络情人节), having become marketable romantic dates for couples to indulge in. 


Source: Baidu


Qixi Festival (七夕节)

Pinyin: qī xī jié
Date: August 14 (for 2021)

Also known as the Double Seventh Festival, the Qixi Festival is the most romantic day of the Chinese calendar, falling on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. 

This special event traces its roots to an ancient folktale called The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl, which tells the story of a forbidden romance between Niulang (牛郎, cowherd) and Zhinü (织女, weaver girl). Because their love was not permitted by the gods, they were both banished to opposing sides of the heavenly river. Despite this, the couple reunited once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, when a flock of magpies would form a bridge for them under the sky. 


The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl. Source: CGTN


Singles’ Day (双11)

Pinyin: shuāng shí yī
Date: November 11

Recognized by many international fans as “Double Eleven,” Singles’ Day is recognized to be the largest shopping holiday in the entire world, filled with exciting sales and stage performances for Chinese consumers to enjoy. Originally, festivities on this day were meant to celebrate singlehood, as indicated by the four 1s (11/11) that the date comprises. However, Singles’ Day eventually evolved into the major shopping event it is now because of Alibaba Group’s keen eye for converting retail therapy binges into marketing opportunities. 

In addition to this, Singles’ Day has also ironically become an increasingly popular date for couples to marry. This may be because the double elevens found in the date can also be interpreted as being a couple. 


Taylor Swift performing her song “Lover” during the 2019 T-Mall 11/11 Gala.


In the mood for love? In case you missed it, here’s our Chinese flower gift guide for Valentine’s Day.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply