St. Valentine's Day is for lovers' unions and the Chinese New Year for family reunions. But when
the two come around the same time, it can be a headache and a
heartache as Miranda Li can testify.
The young office executive is distraught because her boyfriend
left for this weekend's family reunion yesterday, on the eve of
Despite her tears, he had to catch the train back home, leaving
his girlfriend all alone in Beijing. The reason: It would have been
impossible to get a train ticket any later if he has to be home for
new year's eve on Saturday.
Li's plight illustrates how Valentine's Day, which has been
becoming increasingly popular among Chinese in the past decade, has
been subdued by the traditional Chinese New Year.
Roses, for example, are affordable. They were sold at 5-8 yuan
(US$0.64-1.03) each yesterday in Beijing, almost the same as their
usual price but a quarter of the price for last year's Valentine's
Hotels have plenty of rooms. Sources at www.ctrip.com, one of
the largest hotel-booking websites in China, said that hotels are
offering discounts for lovers staying overnight, but most hotel
rooms in downtown Beijing are not booked yet. Last year there were
many more bookings, an assistant said.
Restaurants offering a romantic ambience are suffering. A
manager surnamed Wang at a popular Yunnan restaurant in Beijing's
nightlife center Sanlitun said that only fewer than half of the
tables had been booked by last night. Last year, all the tables
were booked, he said.
The lack of a mood for love can be attributed mainly to a busy
schedule prior to the Chinese New Year. People are leaving for
hometowns, visiting business partners, cleaning houses and booking
family dinners and can spare little time for a Western
(China Daily February 14, 2007)