East-West

Valentine's Day vs. Chinese New Year

For the first time since 1953, Valentine’s Day falls on the same date as the Chinese New Year, forcing many people in Hong Kong, where people typically celebrate both, to choose between Eastern and Western traditions—and between mothers and girlfriends. To spend lavishly on flowers and dinner or head to mom’s for a family feast? A newspaper from mainland China described the conflict as "the West's ideal of a paradise for two” versus the “Chinese New Year's ideal of a reunited family." Hong Kong commentator Benny Li, agreed, calling Hallmark holidays such as Valentine’s, Mother’s, and Father’s day as “merely artificial creations.” One male resident felt less pressure; since his girlfriend flew to Beijing, he was released of all Valentine’s obligations. And one woman plans to bring her fiancée to her hometown to meet the family for the first time. Another man says he’s going to spend the morning with the family and the night with his girlfriend: "My girlfriend was very understanding," the man says. "But I did have to be delicate in explaining it to her."