Love is in the air as passion blooms on Chinese Valentine's Day
Beating the heat, lovebirds in Shanghai proved their love was hotter than the sizzling temperatures as they celebrated Qixi Festival, also known as Chinese Valentine's Day, in a variety of ways on Thursday.
Sweet love permeated the day.
On the 520-meter-long Tian'ai Road in Hongkou District, known as the most romantic road in the city, lovebirds walked hand in hand, whispering to each other – Tian'ai, in Chinese, means sweet love.
They posed for photos on the street, left their words of love on a pink graffiti wall, and delivered postcards at the famous "Love Post Office." Some had wedding photos taken.
Pan Ping, 19, walked on the street with her boyfriend. It is their first Qixi Festival since being together.
"The road is really as sweet as its name says," Pan said with a sweet smile. "We have booked a banquet tonight and will do some shopping after dinner."
Lovebirds flocked to marriage registration centers across Shanghai to exchange vows as well. A total of 503 couples tied the knot on Thursday.
And it's a busy day for florists and hotels.
At a florist on Pucang Road in Qingpu District, owner Zhang Mei and his wife have had several busy days. They started receiving orders more than two weeks ago.
"We have been working through the night for several days to cope with the surge in orders," said Zhang, adding they are getting more than 100 orders a day at the moment.
"Many people buy flowers for their loved ones as part of sense of ritual," Zhang said.
A rose from the southwestern province of Yunnan costs about 8 to 10 yuan (US$1.20-1.50) around the festival, about the same as previous years.
A flower shop on Jiaozhou Road in Jing'an District said it started receiving orders a week ago.
"We can't handle any more orders for the day," a worker said.
A resident surnamed Huang, who lives in Jing'an, ordered a bunch of flowers on Wednesday after work at a flower shop on Nanjing Rd W.
"It is a tradition to give my wife flowers on the day," he said. "The process of picking flowers is a process expressing love."
Online orders surpassed offline ones due to the scorching weather.
Online platform Dingdong Maicai said orders for roses surged nearly 50 percent this year compared with last year – it sold more than 1 million.
A bunch of 11 roses was the top seller, while an increasing number of residents are making niche and personalized options on flowers.
But not all flower shops are that lucky as some said business was sluggish due to the pandemic.
At the Hongqiao flower market in Minhang District, some shop owners said they only had 10-plus orders for this year's Qixi.
"Business is so-so due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Shen Yun, a shop owner.
The shop had more than 100 orders during last year's Qixi.
Shanghai-based online travel operator Trip.com said it had witnessed a 85 percent increase in hotel orders for the day from last Thursday in Shanghai, with high-star hotels favored.
Overall, orders since July 25 for domestic hotels doubled that of last year, and more than 50 percent orders came from women, it said.