China's rich spend big for V-Day

Updated: 2007-02-12 08:55

"The Valentine's Day thing has little to do with me. I'm only concerned that if there are crowds of people they will strew the street with cigarette butts, paper cups and other rubbish," said the 28-year-old.

For many Shanghainese, the most romantic part of the city is the historic Bund waterfront and its art deco buildings.

Today, the Bund is home to some of the city's most upmarket restaurants and bars, including the prestigious Cupola, a small bell tower with commanding views of the river and waterfront and a private dining room for two.

This Valentine's Day, couples are bidding for the chance to enjoy a romantic, candlelight dinner in the private room.

Starting bids open at 5,000 yuan, but the Cupola's management expects the highest bid to surpass 20,000 yuan . The proceeds will go to charity.

So far about 20 couples have signed up to bid.

"For some couples, I believe they would feel they got good value for whatever money they spent," said manager Alan Hepburn.

With restaurants and hotels still not fully booked for the holiday, some wealthy Chinese appear to be saving their yuan for the Spring Festival, the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar, which begins four days after Valentine's Day.

Despite the growing popularity of Valentine's Day in China, some Chinese observe their own traditional love festival on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.

Falling on August 19 this year, Qi Xi is based on a Chinese legend about two lovers -- a cow herder and a fairy -- who fell in love but were separated by a jealous god who created the Milky Way to keep them apart.

Only on Qi Xi could the lovers cross the stars to be together for one night.


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