China: Couples choose family or lover as festivals collide

Locals preformed traditional dragon dances at Lantern festivals in China

Some Chinese couples are having to choose between tradition and romance, as an unusual calendar clash sees both Valentine's Day and the historic Lantern Festival fall on 14 February, it seems.

The Lantern Festival dates back to the Han Dynasty. It involves a meal of dumplings with parents, and marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. The last time the festivals coincided was in 1995, when Valentine's Day had a relatively low profile in China, the state-run People's Daily newspaper reports.

But now the western tradition is a major social and commercial event, particularly among young people. "I broke up with my girlfriend because she felt dumped when I decided to take my mom out instead," one user wrote on Chinese social networking site Sina Weibo.

Another hoped to strike a compromise: "Filial piety always comes first for Chinese people. I'll stay at home on Friday for the Lantern Festival, then spend a romantic weekend with my boyfriend."

Some registry offices reportedly stayed open late as young couples rushed to get married, while State news agency Xinhua says it's expected lots of people will want to tie the knot on 14 February as the double festivals might be seen as auspicious.

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