Romance, business mark Chinese Valentine's Day celebrations in Taiwan

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-04 18:45:04|Editor: mingmei
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TAIPEI, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Fireworks in the shape of the word "LOVE" and hearts lit up the sky above the picturesque Tamsui River. Popular love songs such as "New Everlasting Love" and "Love You So Much" were played as background music.

The annual event celebrating Qixi, or Chinese Valentine's Day, began Saturday evening in Taipei, attracting more than 80,000 onlookers who packed the riverside.

The audience, many of them young couples and families with children, sat on the lawn, recorded the eight-minute fireworks show with their mobile phones and hummed the lyrics known to practically everyone.

They were also joined by popular singers and bands, including Taiwan singer Huang Pin-yuan, whose performance displayed on several giant electronic screens scattered across the site won waves of cheers and applause.

A Taipei resident surnamed Wang came to watch the show with his girlfriend. He said Qixi is a special day to celebrate with the one you love, but, "every day can be Valentine's Day if you are with your lover."

Qixi, a traditional Chinese festival that originated from a 2,000-year-old legend of two lovers, Niulang and Zhinyu, one a cowherd and the other a weaver fairy. As their love was forbidden by the gods, the two lovers could only reunite once a year when a flock of magpies formed a bridge across the river that separated them.

The festival has been an important day for young Chinese for hundreds of years. It falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese lunar calendar, which is Aug. 7 this year.

Not just in Taipei, love-themed events have been organized for the festival across Taiwan. The southern city of Kaohsiung kicked off a carnival along its Love River, featuring sailing and canoeing as compared with lanterns and picnic parties in the past.

In Changhua County, central west Taiwan, a skywalk on its Baguashan Mountain has been decorated with lights and equipped with a sound system in a bid to attract couples for the festival.

Businesses have also taken the chance to promote sales through price discounts, gift packages and other bonuses.

A survey conducted in 2017 in Taiwan showed over 70 percent of the respondents, who were office workers between 20 and 40 years old, planned to celebrate the festival with an average budget of 4,480 new Taiwan dollars (about 142 U.S. dollars) on dining, gifts and entertainment.

It also showed that couples tend to favor creative gifts, such as tours, smart phones and handmade gifts by their lovers, rather than traditional gifts such as chocolate, jewelry and bags.