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The Real Romantic Chinese Holiday: Lantern Festival

http://www.chinese.cn 09:03, February 24, 2010 Global Times

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The Real Romantic Chinese Holiday: Lantern Festival

Forget Valentine's Day. For romance lovers in the capital, it may be just as well that this most manufactured of Western holidays was eclipsed by the Spring Festival - on a day like that, family responsibility totally trumps affairs of the heart. But worry not frustrated lovers - this year, you get a go around! No need to fork out big bucks in a fancy hotel for a meal with prices involving eights and nines, no need to pay 10 times the price for roses and those strange cuddly animals. A perfect romantic evening can be had for the price of a cab - or if you're really cheap - a subway ticket.

Red light district

The Lantern Festival is actually the most romantic traditional holiday in China, and we have those ancient Confucians to thank for that. In feudal society, young women were not allowed to go out freely, but on this day they were allowed to hang out with friends, and Lantern appreciation activities also gave them a chance to socialize.

Therefore, both then and now, single women and men take this opportunity to get to know each other better. Of course, nowadays, this traditional activity is gradually losing its romantic element as young women and men have the freedom to go dating on any day. But it seems that with this independence, young people eschew traditional activities, and head back home for one last night with their family.

Instead, this year what could be more romantic than a walk in one of Beijing's parks among the beautifully decorated red lanterns - other connotations notwithstanding. The sky will light up with the last of the year's firework displays, sure to set any heart aflutter. And for singletons, it still may be a good place to catch an admiring glance or two.

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