How have Wuhan people celebrated their first Qixi after recovery from COVID-19?
Published: Aug 25, 2020 09:45 PM

Tourists have fun at Playa Maya Water Park in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, August 15, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Ask the lovebirds in Wuhan, a city that has resurrected itself from the blow of COVID-19, what the first post-pandemic Qixi, or Chinese Valentine's Day, means to them, and their answer is simple: cherishing your loved ones and the normal life that millions of people fought to bring back. 

Long queues of people waiting to register marriages were seen outside the civil affairs bureau in Wuhan's Jiang'an district on Tuesday. An employee from the bureau told the Global Times that about twenty people had registered in the morning, and they were expecting more in the afternoon.

Li Jing, a Wuhan resident, got up at 6 am on Tuesday morning to complete the marriage registration procedures with her husband, whom she dated for eight years. 

"We missed the day lockdown was lifted in Wuhan in April 8, because my husband could not come back then, so we chose to do it today," said Li. She said the final push for her to get hitched was her boyfriend's long-distance companionship during the Wuhan lockdown.

"Can you imagine, a man who never managed to wake up before 10 in the morning could keep his phone on 24/7 for me when Wuhan was sealed off and I was anxious and depressed? Whether it was 7 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon, he was always there for me. That's when I made up my mind," said Li. 

A park in Wuhan also held a kissing competition on Tuesday, with prizes awarded to couples who managed to kiss the longest underwater. To make the atmosphere more intense, there were sharks, skates and other fish swimming around the kissing couples. 

A man named Charles who took his wife to the competition said that they both met here in 2018. "Going through the epidemic was hard for Wuhan people, and after this, I decided I would treat my wife better and offer her the best that I could."

Those who were not so eager to step into marriage chose to flock to Wuhan's famous entertainment venues to celebrate their love. One example was a ferris wheel dubbed the "Donghu Eye" which recently opened in Wuhan's iconic tourist spot in Donghu Lake. Equipped with 28 capsules that can hold up to 112 people, one whole cycle takes 13 minutes and 14 seconds, which said in Chinese sounds like "yisheng yishi", which means "a lifetime together".

A local resident surnamed Wu told the Global Times she had to line up for two hours to get into the wheel. "While I was waiting, I was surrounded by couples holding flowers and hugging under the scorching sunshine."

Wu said she had not seen so many people queuing since the outbreak. "As a singleton, I do get sour grapes seeing others being so romantic, but on the other hand, I am happy to see Wuhan is getting back to normal more quickly."