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China Celebrates More Than 1 Valentine’s Day

Every festival reminds us to take time to confirm and celebrate something, such festivals include Valentine’s day, which is a romantic day for lovers to give gifts and express their love for each other or the person they like. In addition to the famous Valentine’s Day February 14th,  each country also has their own ways of celebrating this romantic holiday.  With the development and globalization of Chinese and Western cultures, Chinese people have adopted the commonly celebrated Valentine’s day of the West as well as having their own Valentine’s day based on the Lunar Calendar. Hence, there are 6 most commonly celebrated Valentine’s Day in China. Read more below to know more on how each Valentine’s day came about! 

1) Valentine’s day or 情人節 (February 14) 

Valentine’s Day, or also known as St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated every February 14th of the Gregorian calendar. As one of the most celebrated traditional holidays all over the world, men and women would send chocolates, greeting cards and flowers to each other on this day to express their love and spend this beautiful romantic holiday together. This holiday has become a favorite holiday not only in Europe and the United States, but also all over the world such as China. 

2) Qixi Festival or 七夕節 ( July 7th of the Lunar Calendar)  

Another well-known Valentine’s day being celebrated in China is the Qixi Festival or also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Qixi Festival is the legendary day commemorating the annual meeting of the romantic tale between Cowherd and the Weaver Girl wherein they only met once a year on the Magpie Bridge.  In the past, girls would give their favorite purses or other things to men in which men would send gifts back. Just like Valentine’s day, Qixi festival is one of the most celebrated holidays in China, where lovers spend this day together and give each other gifts. Many businesses also take advantage of this opportunity to carry out promotional activities such as group purchases and discounts, as well as launching special collections just for this festival. 

3) Lantern Festival or 元宵節 (January 15th of the Lunar Calendar) 

On the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, Chinese people from all over the world celebrate the Lantern Festival, which coincidentally, is also being celebrated as a romantic festival. In the ancient times, the Lantern Festival is a traditional holiday which gives an opportunity for unmarried men and women to socialize, and meet their lovers. Young girls in the traditional society back then are not allowed to go out. Thus, it is only during these rare occasions such as the Lantern Festival can young and unmarried women go out to play, socialize and watch Lanterns. 

4) Shangsi/Double Third Festival or (March 3 of the Lunar Calendar) 

In ancient times, the Shangsi Festival is a large-scale folk festival celebrated in some parts of China. The festival of Shangsi falls on March 3 of the lunar calendar. One of the main activities of the Shangsi Festival was the meeting of men and women, which is the “Valentine Day” for them to express their love. On this day, people would go for an outing by the waterside, have a picnic, and pluck orchids. It is also a day for invoking cleansing rituals to prevent disease and get rid of bad luck. The Shangsi Festival is considered as the oldest Valentine’s Day in China and is also celebrated in other parts of the world such as North Korea , Japan , Ryukyu , and Vietnam. 

5) White Valentine’s Day 白色情人節 (March 14) 

A month after the well-celebrated romantic holiday around the world, people celebrate White Valentine’s Day which falls on March 14th of the Gregorian Calendar. It is generally believed that Japan was the first to promote this festival as a small Japanese confectionery shop, Ishimura Manseido, wanted to promote his product as well as thought of promoting a special day for men by having women to give or return gifts to the men for the the wishes and gifts received on Valentine’s Day on February 14. White Valentine’s Day is popular not only in Japan and China, but also in Taiwan and other parts of the world. In recent years, White Valentine’s Day has begun to spread all over mainland China, and has become another festival that must be celebrated among couples.  

6) 520 Day or 網絡情人節  (May 20 & 21) 

Considered as the first fixed holiday in the digital age, China celebrates yet another  romantic holiday on May 20 and 21 every year. The reason for this celebration is because of the Chinese pronunciation for “five two zero” (wu er ling) which sounds like ‘I love you’ (wo ai ni). Recently, people are also involving the next day wherein “five two one” (wu er yi) sounds like ‘I do’ or ‘I am willing (wo yuan yi). Men can choose to confess May 20 while women give their answers on May 21. The annual celebration of  520 節 has gathered  lovers to register the marriage and hold grand wedding celebrations. This day is spent similarly to that on February 14 and Qixi and is commonly celebrated amongst young generations today. Just like Qixi festival, many businesses also take advantage of this opportunity to carry out promotional activities such as group purchases and discounts, as well as launching special collections just for this festival.

photos credits to the respective owners 

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