Festivals and events

How Asia Celebrates Valentine’s Day

We break down Valentine’s Day spending, gifting and celebrating habits across Asia. Research by CASPAR LI

Asian regions with the highest per-person spending for Valentine’s Day:

  • The Chinese mainland HK$2,139

  • Taiwan HK$1,913

  • Hong Kong HK$1,804

  •  Singapore HK$1,406

  • Thailand HK$1,132

Top Valentine’s Day gifts from men in Hong Kong:

  •  Flowers: 34%

  • Jewellery: 32%

  • Clothing and leather goods: 16%

Top Valentine’s Day gifts from women in Hong Kong:

  • Clothing and leather goods: 42%

  • Gadgets: 28%

  • Chocolate and candy: 11%

On Valentine’s Day:

  • 64% of Hongkongers dined out

  • 12% saw a film or other show

Source: 2018 Mastercard Consumer Purchasing Priorities Survey

Bells are ringing

In 2017, the Philippine government sponsored nearly 2,000 free weddings on Valentine’s Day for couples who had enrolled in the affordable housing financing programme.

So much love

People on the Chinese mainland celebrate love on three other days: Lantern Festival (19 February this year), when lovers admire lantern displays; 20 May, because 520 sounds a bit like ‘I love you’ in Mandarin; Seventh Eve (7 August this year), which is the traditional Chinese Valentine’s Day.

Black or white

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is often about women giving gifts to men. White Day (14 March) was introduced in 1978 as a day when men pay back the women with a gift. This tradition is observed in various Asian countries nowadays. Black Day (14 April) has appeared in South Korea: singles who did not receive gifts on Valentine’s Day or White Day gather to eat, drink and dress in black with other single friends.

Show no love

Indonesia declared Valentine’s Day forbidden in 2012.

All by myself

Over 71% of Chinese university students are single.

The sweetest thing

In Asia, Japan has the highest annual consumption of chocolate – averaging 1.2 kilos per person.

Source: 2017 Chocolate and Cocoa Association of Japan

Fruit of love

In Singapore, it’s tradition for unmarried women to go to the Singapore River in the dark to throw mandarin oranges into the river, with the hope of finding their soulmates.

Unstoppable kiss

The longest kiss recorded was by a Thai couple in 2013. It lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds, and they won cash and two diamond rings.

Light of my life

Pedestrian crossing signals depicting couples holding hands have appeared on Valentine’s Day in Pingtung in Taiwan, China.

Scent of a stamp

Thailand issued the world’s first rose-scented stamps for Valentine’s Day in 2002.

Tulips are red…

Instead of roses, red tulips are the classic flower to give in Singapore.

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