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Different Attitudes Towards Valentine's Day

Roses and chocolates may have been the best selling gifts Wednesday as many people chose these to express their love for their beloved.

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport officials said they have flown nearly 30 tons of flowers since February 9. Roses accounted for a large proportion, with the other popular varieties being carnations and lilies. A new type of rose, named the "diamond rose" was also imported into southwest China's Chongqing Municipality from the Republic of Korea.

To grab the golden chance, the local post offices also started a service of sending roses for residents to their beloved in and outside the city. Restaurants are decorated with candles, delicately-designed chocolates and delicious cookies to welcome pairs spending their day in a romantic atmosphere.

Roses in Beijing are sold at 10 to 20 yuan (US$1.2 to US$2.4) each, up from three yuan on usual days. A special type of rose with an unusual color is even sold at 150 yuan each on this special occasion.

Beichen Plaza in Beijing sold out chocolates worth 100,000 yuan and roses worth at least 20,000 yuan today.

Valentine's Day, a day for lovers named after a romantic story in the West, has become more and more popular among the Chinese, especially those below the age of 35.

Li Yong, a computer engineer in Beijing, gave his wife nine roses as a present today, wishing the two could be together forever.

He said, "Living in an increasingly open society, it is time for us to change our outdated attitudes. I think we ought to declare our love in a more open and direct way."

While some disagree with the idea, seeming to have no interest in spending a day in such a luxurious way.

Fang Ke, a government official in Beijing, said gifts with too high a price may materialize people's passion. "I would like to spend the day with my girlfriend in our own way," he said.

Valentine's presents that are too expensive also scared some customers away. Wang Yueqin, a woman who has recently lost her job, said, "My husband bought several roses today to make me happy. While I think they are a generous gift, I would rather get something more practical." And she is not the only one to hold such an idea.

A teacher in Wenzhou City, east China's Zhejiang province, did not seem to like the Western lovers' day at all. He said so in an on-line chat room: "We Chinese also have our own lovers' day, that is the July 7th in the Chinese lunar calendar. Why do we choose the Western one? We are losing our cultural tradition."

July 7th is set as Chinese lovers day after an ancient Chinese love story. A couple was separated by a goddess, for the wife, once an angel, broke the law in heaven for the sake of love. They were then only allowed to meet on this day. "I think the day and the story can remind more young people of what is real love and learn to cherish it," said the teacher.

In the last few years, the Chinese attitudes towards love, sex, marriage have changed a lot. Social phenomena such as adultery, keeping mistresses, and cohabitation have also caught citizens' attention.

Some hotels in Beijing offered room discounts for Valentine's Day. Customers were only required to show their identity cards when they booked a room, rather than showing their marriage certificates, which made parents and staff working in women's affairs frown.

They said this was improper. Pre-marital sex and adultery are now a threat to family life and social order. Such a practice implies approval.

Ge Chenhong, a sociologist in the People's University of China, said that most Chinese still prefer connotation, and they also tend to be more practical.

"But there is no denying the fact that human beings look forward to true love no matter where and when."

(Xinhua 02/15/2001)

In This Series

Sending Her Flowers Makes Scents

Survey on Valentine's Day Gifts & Arrangements

Roses Bloom on Valentine's Day

Valentine's Operation Cuts Through Traditional Gifts

Valentine's Day for Love, and Spending

A Surprising Valentine’s Day Present



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