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Culture note: St. Valentine’s day in China


Happy St. Valentine’s day!!

Well, actually, there is no real ‘St. Valentine’s culture’ in China, but since many friends have asked me whether St. Valentine’s day is celebrated in China, and how people would celebrate it, I thought I would write a shore culture note about it. And in my next post, I will share a romantic meal idea. :)

In China, there was no St. Valentine’s celebration until probably around 20 years ago. As in many other cultures, St. Valentine’s  quickly became a day with a markedly commercial purpose. People could feel the atmosphere: the  music on the radio, the roses in the flower shops, the crowded shopping malls.

When it was first introduced to China, St. Valentine’s  was not accepted by many people. St. Valentine’s day translated into Chinese is called ‘Qing Ren Jie’, as in ‘lovers’ festival’ if you translate it directly. So you can imagine, many couples were not convinced to celebrate it.

In the recent years, St. Valentine’s  has gained popularity, and the celebration has become more ‘formal’.  The Chinese translation is now understood differently by most people: ‘lover’ refers to anyone with love, it is not only about two people as a couple, but also about anybody with love in their heart — a big love. With its extended meaning in China, the ‘celebration’ is no longer restricted to a ‘couple’s world’.

Nowadays, if you are in China, St. Valantine’s day is similar to Western countries, you can see the ‘banners’ with ‘happy St. Valentine’s day’ everywhere, all the restaurants are full, all the shops are having good sells, chocolates are flying off the shelves. Apart from most Western traditions, there is ‘love knot’ in China. ‘Knot’ is a very popular ‘decoration’ (? if you call it.) in China, probably you have seen it everywhere already. It is normally made with thick red thread, and made into different shapes and styles. Nowadays, there are many of them for different meanings, for example, the famous ‘Love knot’, ‘marriage knot’, ‘lucky knot’, ‘happy knot’… In many places, people, especially young people, like to hang a ‘love knot’ on the trees for the good wishes — love forever.

                                     Image source:http://hunlala.com/gallery-82-grid.html   Image source:  http://www.nipic.com/show/4/79/bc5f3f007eff4399.html

In recent years, since there is a very popular trend to emphasise the forgotten traditions, Chinese people normally celebrate two Valentine’s days in China. One is the same as in the West, on 14th February, another one is — we call it Chinese valentine’s day, on 7th July in Chinese calendar. (See the post Culture note: Chinese Valentine’s day)

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I guess you must be busy with preparing the romantic night, probably don’t even have chance to read this post, however, no matter where you are, what you are doing, Happy St. Valentine’s day to everyone having love in their heart. :)))

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112. Chinese Hot-pot! (part II)
Culture Note: Spring Day in China and spring flatbread recipe


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