What to do when the most romantic holiday of the year is anything but?

By Lao Luo Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/14 16:58:40

A florist arranges flowers for Valentine's Day. Photo: ICInset: Gong Linna (left) and Lao Luo Photo: Courtesy of Lao Luo

A florist arranges flowers for Valentine's Day. Photo: IC

A florist arranges flowers for Valentine's Day. Photo: ICInset: Gong Linna (left) and Lao Luo Photo: Courtesy of Lao Luo

Gong Linna (left) and Lao Luo Photo: Courtesy of Lao Luo

Once again you have to buy flowers for your wife, even though you quarrelled with her that morning and only want to get as far away from her as possible. But no, you have to be romantic. Maybe even light some candles, but a present and have a dinner for two.

Why? Because this damned holiday known as Valentine's Day has returned once more. Fortunately, it's only one day then it's over and things can go back to normal. Valentine's Day is good for business and spending money, but doesn't have much to do with love anymore.

But maybe it could make sense again.

I think Valentine's Day should be a day that reminds couples how they fell in love, and that this love is something that has to be nourished to keep it alive. My wife Linna and I never celebrated Valentine's Day. We just felt no need for it, as we feel deeply in love all time. But even for us, the routines of daily life just keep coming. For Linna and I, it is the omnipresence of our work. There is always something to talk about, always something that is keeping us busy. Even when we are just trying to have a good time together, thoughts about work pop up, and then, very quickly, these magical romantic moments fade away.

So lately, I have started to understand why celebrating Valentine's Day can make sense: You have to use this as an opportunity to bring your love story back on track. Still, how we celebrate this day is up to us, and therefore we have to understand ourselves as a couple and what we really need.

There are so many songs talking about love. And what are the most touching love-songs about? Not a happy love life, but about longing!

I think when we feel longing when separated from our loved ones, we become specially aware of our love. It is this simultaneous presence of bitterness and sweetness that gives this feeling such a unique taste. This feeling is the perfect reminder of the beauty of being in love and how valuable our lives with our beloved are.

So I decided that I'd celebrate Valentine's Day with Linna. However, I didn't take Linna out for dinner, and I didn't cook for her. I didn't buy her flowers nor did I spend any money on presents. What I did do was contemplate my longing for her, about missing her, about the times we are not together.

I wrote a love song about this longing, which I want to share with you. I named it "Hou Ren Xi Yi (候人兮猗)." You might think it's a strange name, but according to the Spring and Autumn Annuals of Lü from the Warring States period (475BC-221BC), it was China's first love song. Later sources say this was the song sung by Lady Tushan as she was longing for her husband Yu the Great, a legendary figure in China who worked to save the country from floods.

So even the first recorded love-song in Chinese history is said to be a song about longing! The lyrics and music of this ancient song have been lost, but we still know the title and the myth around it. We also know what this feeling of longing is like, and it is this feeling that I tried to put into my song.

I left out any lyrics, as I believe music can describe this feeling quite perfectly - bitter-sweet.

Lao Luo (Robert Zollitsch) is a German musician living in China who is married to well-known Chinese singer Gong Linna.

Newspaper headline: Valentine’s dilemma


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