• Beijing Valentine
  • Feb 14, 2014
  • Some of my Chinese students call it Lovers’ Day. In my American Culture class I list holidays on a PPT slide and quiz the class to find out how many students know which holidays are American and which ones are international. There are always a few who think Christmas and Easter are American, but every student is quick to acknowledge Valentine’s Day is an international holiday. It’s widely celebrated in China.

    Being in Beijing is no excuse for forgetting your special someone on this romantic day. Flowers, chocolates, jewelry and heart-shape cards are everywhere. At the very least, you can send a free Valentine’s e-card. If that’s too much trouble, how about a “Happy Valentine’s Day” text message? But don’t be too surprised if that leaves him or her disappointed. If you already forgot to send a Valentine’s greeting, sorry, it’s too late. Nothing is more insulting than a belated Valentine’s card!


    There are so many ways to say “I’m in love with you” in Beijing. But you better take the effort to really know the person before you buy, otherwise even the best intentions and most money spent may not mean love.

    Not everyone is as practical as my wife. She absolutely doesn’t like me to “waste” money on cut flowers, unless I buy them at an after Valentine’s Day half-price sale.  Don’t get me wrong. She’s romantic and she likes other gifts and nice dinners. But in Beijing, she would much rather eat out a day or two after the holiday than to wait an hour to get into a crowded restaurant on Valentine’s evening. But not everybody’s sweetheart is so practical.


    This year’s Valentine’s Day in Beijing was no less romantic that any other year or any other place. Stores were selling flowers, chocolate and jewelry. In the afternoon guys were seen carrying huge bouquets of flowers. In the evening they were seen with young ladies at their sides carrying the flowers. We were walking through a mall when my six year old son asked, “Why is everybody carrying flowers?”

    If you were one of the guys lucky enough to be with your sweetheart in Beijing this Valentine’s Day, and your date was so exciting you felt like fireworks were going off, well, they really were. This year Valentine’s Day fell on the same day as the Lantern Festival, the final day for lighting fireworks in the city. So if you missed it, too bad. Next year no matter how romantic your Valentine’s date, you probably won’t hear fireworks in the background.