A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Tired of Valentine’s Day? Try something from the East!


There are still a few days for Valentine’s Day to come, yet people already get excited for it. Red hearts, red roses, and pink decorations invaded the world. As far as I know (I have no clue where I can find the sources and cite it here in my post), Valentine’s Day was originally a day to share love and happiness. I myself am a bit tired of Valentine’s Day turning into Lovers’ Day, so read on, I have an alternative.


A friend of mine told me a few days ago, that she would be able to celebrate the 14th of February this year. I was really happy at first and fully surprised, “wait, really? Tell me tell me where he’s from how old is he how you guys got together…” She smiled rather bitterly, “sis, the Lantern Festival and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day this year, if you know what I mean. I was just joking…” I checked the Chinese calendar immediately; oh right, February 14th in Western calendar is January 15th in Chinese lunar calendar, which means this day is indeed the Lantern Festival as well.


I feel quite released actually upon hearing the coincidence. The Lantern Festival marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. On this day, people will eat sweat dumplings. There are actually a lot of arguments around “sweet dumplings”, or “yuanxiao” as called in Chinese. In the Northern part of China, it can be salty as well. In Southern part where I’m from, these little thingies are mostly sweet. And in fact, the Lantern Festival is called the “Yuanxiao (sweet dumplings) Festival” originally, and honestly I have no idea why it’s Lantern Festival in English.


Every 15th day in the lunar month in China means that full moon will show up if the night sky is clear. Appreciating the beauty of the full moon with family is quite an enjoyable activity. While enjoying nice views and yummy food, what people also do in China is riddle-guessing. Lovers’ hearts are hard to guess, but if brains are used efficiently and effectively, Chinese riddles are easy and very entertaining. Sounds different from going out for a candlelight dinner, huh?


Alright, I am going to think about whether I should buy some sweet dumplings or make them myself. Enjoy February 14th everyone, with love and passion and happiness, and hopefully…… sweet dumplings!


P.S. Pictures in this webpost are from,, and private pictures.


by Xueyan Xing (coming all the way from China; studying at Leiden University College The Hague)

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This entry was posted on February 8, 2014 by in Authors, Culture, Leisure, Travel, Xueyan and tagged , , , , , , , .

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