http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/photo-essay-valentine-s-day-and-lantern-festival-in-china/article/370764

Photo Essay: Valentine's Day and Lantern Festival in China Special

Posted Feb 14, 2014 by Lonna Lisa Williams
This year, Valentine's Day and the Lantern Festival fell on the same day in China. The Chinese celebrated with red lanterns, flowers, and hearts.
This Chinese couple partly hide behind the huge bouquet he gave his sweetheart
This Chinese couple partly hide behind the huge bouquet he gave his sweetheart
Many countries in the world now celebrate Valentine's Day, including Russia, Turkey, and China (where I have taught English). In China, the holiday falls close to the Chinese Lunar New Year, but today it also came on the same day as the Lantern Festival. This gives the Chinese three reasons to celebrate, and they are busy giving flowers, chocolate, dinner invitations, and setting off fireworks.
Valentine's Day was originally Saint Valentine's Day, after a Christian saint named Valentinus who lived in Rome. Legend says that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.
It's interesting to note that in Saudi Arabia, Valentine's Day has been outlawed. Morality Police confiscate red roses, hearts, and just about anything else that is red from shops and arrest people for celebrating a "Christian" holiday. Nevertheless, some Saudis may celebrate such a romantic day behind closed doors.
The Lantern Festival ends the Chinese New Year and has various ancient origins and legends. Basically, it is a celebration, using the lucky color red in big, paper lanterns with a candle inside them (modern ones use nylon and electric lights). These fiery lanterns, combined with fireworks, were once used to appease the angry Jade Emperor in Heaven. His favorite crane had been killed by some villagers, so he wanted to burn down the village. A wise man suggested using lanterns and fireworks as a disguise. When the Jade Emperor's soldiers came down from heaven, they saw the red glow and thought the village had already burned, so the Jade Emperor abandoned his plan. Now people hang a single red lantern in their windows as good luck for the coming year and eat sweet, fried dumplings.
I went to the local shopping mall in Jilin and took a few photos of Valentine's Day and the Lantern Festival. I hope they light up your life a little.
The entrance to one of Jilin s shopping malls shows a romantic theme for Valentine s Day
The entrance to one of Jilin's shopping malls shows a romantic theme for Valentine's Day
These models represent romance
These models represent romance
This Chinese couple partly hide behind the huge bouquet he gave his sweetheart
This Chinese couple partly hide behind the huge bouquet he gave his sweetheart
The six-storey mall was hung with lanterns
The six-storey mall was hung with lanterns
Outside the mall s entrance  huge scaffolds held up columns of lanterns
Outside the mall's entrance, huge scaffolds held up columns of lanterns
A close-up look at the lanterns
A close-up look at the lanterns