Children in costumes mimicking a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor and empress, as well as other figures, sit in sedans carried by men in a parade in Wenling, Zhejiang Province, on Wednesday to mark the Lantern Festival, which falls on Friday. Photo: CFP
Loyalty to your lover or loyalty to your parents? This has become a heated debate online in the lead up to Valentine's Day - which this year falls on Friday, the same day as the Lantern Festival, a day traditionally regarded as an occasion for family gatherings.
The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and also marks the last day of the lunar new year celebration.
A survey by a dating website jiayuan.com said that about 40 percent of the nearly 14,000 people polled would choose family ahead of lovers.
But findings vary. According to a survey of 82 college students from several universities in Wuhan, Hubei Province, 54 chose to spend the day with lovers instead of family members.
A woman surnamed Zhang told the People's Daily Online that she would spend the romantic day with her boyfriend. She recently went back to Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, after spending 10 days with her parents during the lunar new year.
Another woman, surnamed Sun, who also lives in Xi'an, choose to reserve the Lantern Festival for her family, saying she and her boyfriend have been in love for long time and enjoy a stable relationship.
One Net user suggested his girlfriend could come to his home to eat rice dumplings, with his parents, and said he would give her 99 roses.
Scholars have also found a way to combine the two holidays, saying the Lantern Festival was truly a romantic day as ancient Chinese girls were only allowed to go outdoors that night to see the lantern displays, offering them an opportunity to meet young men.
"Many legendary love stories start with an encounter during the Lantern Festival, so it can be viewed as a Chinese version of Valentine' s Day," said Wang Laihua, a traditional culture researcher with the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences.
Valentine's Day or Lantern Festival, the day has become a business opportunity for merchants. Restaurants are expected to be fully booked by lovers longing for a romantic dinner on Friday. The prices of roses are skyrocketing.