It’s time to feel love. Ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your lover or friends? Having a sweet and romantic dinner at a steakhouse sounds a good idea. However, do you want to try to make a different Valentine’s Day for your special person? In Japan, Japanese have their special culture for the day that Japanese girls always buy or make chocolate for their loved boys, and boys will return gifts for girls on March 14th if they want to have a further relationship; the day boys return gifts is called White Valentine’s Day. The reason why Japanese girls and boys like doing that is based on its implicit culture. Boys usually focus on studying, part-time working, and club activities during their student life, but they’re too shy to express their love to girls, so girls need to be brave and explicit.
Compared with Japanese culture, Chinese also have a unique culture on Valentine’s Day. Chinese Valentine’s Day, also called Qixi Festival, falls on the 7th day of 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It sometimes called Double Seventh Festival, the Night of Sevens, or the Magpie Festival. During the day, nothing is related to chocolate of course. The day originated from the romantic legend of two lovers who were the weaver maid and the cowherd respectively. In a clear estivo-autumnal night, the arc of the southern Milky Way shone brightly on the starry sky. When the stars Vega and Altair, who are in love but separated by the Milky Way, are reunited for the night. Hence, it implies reunions, reconciliations and the bliss of lovers long parted, and that’s the story of Chinese Valentine’s Day.
Different people from different regions have different customs. The difference also shows China’s long history and inter-cultural diversity. In some Eastern provinces, women would like to put some melon and fruit on a dining table, and hope a spider could spin a web on the food, because they treat the spider cobweb as a connection between men and women so men whom they love will know their feelings. In the central area, it is more interesting that seven good friends would make dumplings together and put a copper coin and a red date into the dumplings. They believe that the person who eats the “lucky” dumplings will get a blessing from deities. In some southwestern rural areas, there is a parable that fairy maidens would like to descend to the earth and get a shower in lakes in the day, and people believe that drinking the “bath water” is beneficial to their health. Then people will take water from lakes around them.
If you want to experience a different and unique for Valentine’s Day, welcome to China and we can eat and celebrate together!