It’s really difficult to confirm the exact time when western Valentine’s Day was introduced into China, but Valentine’s Day is still widely celebrated among the young generation in most Chinese cities, where lots of commercial and cultural events that are going to happen, especially in the first-tier cities, like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen. In spite of its popularity in China, few people know much about it.
The Origin of Western Valentine’s Day
The exact details of the origin of Valentine’s Day have long been a mystery, but most stories point back to at least two martyred saints named Valentine. According to the legends, the Roman Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine on Feb. 14 of different years.
One story claims that Valentine was a priest in third-century Rome. Claudius II thought that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed young men from marrying. When Valentine defied this order and kept performing marriages, Claudius had him executed.
Another story claims Valentine was killed for trying to help Christians escape Roman prisons. When he was imprisoned, he fell in love with a girl and sent her the first Valentine, a letter he signed “From your Valentine.”
How Do People Celebrate Valentine’s Day in China?
Chinese people have adopted the traditions of Westerners on celebrating Valentine’s Day, such as exchanging gifts (like flowers, chocolates, ties and watches), making a special date to or have a romantic dinner or watch a movie in the evening, or even to make a marriage registration if Valentine’s Day falls on a work day.
Therefore, larger amounts of chocolate will be on sale in supermarkets, and, compared with that ordinary days, cinemas will be much busier, and the price of flowers (especially roses) and restaurants and hotels (especially romantic ones) could be much higher. Many restaurants will have special set menus.
For more information: How People Celebrate Valentine’s Day in China?