I love holidays, even though I don't celebrate most of them. Holidays are great topics of discussion. Talking about holidays adds a spontaneous element to tutoring sessions by adding current events to the class­­­. The great thing about holidays is that you can talk about it anytime. Of course, the best time is the month the holiday occurs. I generally talk about the holiday one or two weeks before or after the holiday.


Now I know what you’re thinking. Amy! Valentine’s Day has come and gone for a month now. Or could it be those italki people not keeping up with the times? In this article, I am also going to introduce for those who don’t know, 白色情人节 / bái sè qíng rén jié / White Valentine’s Day -- which is on March 14th! (So those italki people timed it right after all).



A Friendly Reminder


It is important to respect a person's privacy. Make sure the person you are having this discussion with is comfortable talking about relationship topics. I only recommend this topic under two conditions:


  1. You have built up a good rapport with this person
  2. This person is comfortable talking about relationship topics.


If one of the two conditions are not met, do not force a conversation. If both conditions are met, then let's explore phrases and expressions we can use to talk about this lovely day! I have you covered when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s in China: from asking related questions, to discussing the activities (gift ideas included if you need some), and even reacting phrases.



Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?


Even if we don’t have perfect timing for talking about Valentine's Day, we can talk about Valentine's Day conversational practices. As Valentine’s Day approaches, you can ask:


情人节快到了, 你有什么计划?

qíng rén jié kuài dào le , nĭ yŏu shén me jì huà ?

Valentine's Day is almost here, what is your plan?


If Valentine's Day has already passed, we can ask:



qíng rén jié de shí hou nĭ zuò le shén me ?

What did you do on Valentine's Day?



qíng rén jié nĭ shì zĕn me guò de ?

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?


We can only continue this conversation if he/she actually celebrated Valentine's Day! So we can ask:



nĭ guò qíng rén jié ma?

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


(guò) - Literally means to pass time (doing some activities), but for this type of questioning we usually translate as "to celebrate”.


Similarly, we can ask:




nĭ guò chūnjié ma?

nĭ guò shèngdàn jié ma?

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year?

Do you celebrate Christmas?



Titles, Gift Ideas & Activities


No one likes "no" for an answer, right? So hopefully we will get a "yes!". Here is a short list of words and phrases we can use.




nán péng you



nǚ péng you



tài tai

wife; Mrs.


xiān sheng

husband; Mr.


Gift Ideas


to send/to give (gifts)


qiăo kè lì



xiān huā



shŏu shì



yī fu



qíng rén jié kă piàn

Valentine's Day cards




kàn diàn yĭng

to watch a movie


xiū xi

to rest


chī fàn

to eat


zuò fàn

to cook


Let's take a look at some example sentences with some of the words listed above:



wŏ sòng le xiān huā gĕi wŏ nǚ péng you 。

I gave my girlfriend flowers.



wŏ gĕi wŏ nán péng you măi le yī fu 。

I bought clothes for my boyfriend.



wŏ gĕi wŏ de tài tai zuò fàn 。

I cooked for my wife.



wŏ men yī qĭ chū qù chī fàn 。

We went out to eat in a restaurant.


Note: 出去 (chū qù) in here implies restaurant because it literally means to go out.



wŏ men qù kàn le diàn yĭng 。

We went to watch a movie.



wŏ men zài jiā xiū xi le。

We were at home resting.



Reactionary Phrases


Having discussed your Valentine’s activities, we can't just move onto the next question or topic abruptly, so here are some ‘reactionary phrases’ you can use:





tián mì



làng màn



xiàn mù



Example sentences:


  • 你们好甜蜜! That is so sweet!
  • 你们好浪漫! That is so romantic!
  • 你们好令人羡慕! I envy you guys!


Note: All the sentences above use 你们, which means you and your significant other. The sentences can also be translated as “You guys are so sweet/romantic”.



The Two Other Groups


So far, we have covered phrases for people who do celebrate Valentine's Day, but what about people who don't? In my experience, I have met two kinds of people so far. Ones that would say this about Valentine’s day:




luó màn dì kè

romantic - A transliteration from the English word "romantic".


tè bié



làng fèi

to waste



wŏ men jué de qíng rén jié bìng bù tè bié , făn ér hái hĕn làng fèi shí jiān hé jīn qián 。

Valentine’s Day is not a special day to us; it actually just wastes time and money.


While another group of people tend to tell me the following:


对我们来说, 每天都是情人节。

duì wŏ men lái shuō , mĕi tiān dōu shì qíng rén jié 。

For us, every day is a Valentine's Day.


Isn’t this just the perfect moment for the reactionary phrase “你们好甜蜜” (nĭ men hăo tián mì, That is so sweet)!


Now you are equipped with all the phrases you need for a conversation talking about Valentine’s Day. You might be disappointed that Valentine's Day has long passed by the time this article is on italki. And you wanted to use some of the phrases you’ve just learned. However! There are two more occasions remaining this year that you can use the above phrases from this article. One is on White Day, while the other one is during Qixi Festival.


  • 2 月 14 日是情人节。
  • 2 yuè 14 rì shì qíng rén jié 。
  • February 14th is Valentine's Day.


  • 3 月 14 日是白色情人节。
  • 3 yuè 14 rì shì bái sè qíng rén jié 。
  • March 14th is White (Valentine’s) Day.


  • 农历 7 月 7 日是七夕。
  • nóng lì 7 yuè 7 rì shì qī xī 。
  • July 7th of lunar calendar is Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentine's Day).


Just to clarify some things:


  • On Valentine’s Day, the ladies give gifts to the gentlemen.
  • On White Day, the gentlemen return the favor to the ladies.
  • Qixi Festival is Chinese Valentine’s Day.


White Day is coming shortly so you can use utilize what you have learned in this article pretty soon. You can also wait for the Chinese Valentine’s Day, which is on July 7th of the lunar calendar, so you have plenty of time to prepare yourself for a conversation! Only if you are comfortable doing so, share what you did on Valentine's Day in Chinese with us in the comment section below!


Hero image by Jeremy Cai (CC0 1.0