How Do Chinese Express Their Love?

Due to the similar pronunciations of '520' and 'wo ai ni' (I love you in Chinese), May 20th is well-celebrated by couples in China in recent years. Funny huh? Chinese are worldly-famous for their shyness, their ways to express love are much less blazing compared to the west. So how do Chinese people express their love?


In classical Chinese love poetries, the moon, river, rain are well-used as metaphors to show intense love to someone. Also, a gift with romance is always considered as a commitment to each other. In ancient times, girls usually gave their perfume bags as a token of love while guys gave their jades.


With the influence of other cultures, the new generations are getting better and better at expressing their emotions (including love) compared to our parents' generation. But the ways we do it are still very Chinese characteristic (in another word - ONLY IN CHINA). Today we are going to show you the ways we express love from the gifts we give, words we say and actions we take. 



01   Cup


Giving a nice cup as a gift is absolutely normal in many countries, however, it has a unique meaning in China. Of course it doesn't mean 'I want you to drink more water' - it's the behind meaning it stands for.


In Chinese, the pronunciation of cup is 'bēi zǐ', which connects to another word with the meaning of 'a lifetime' - 'bèi zǐ辈子'. Due to the similar pronunciations, people tend to put these two together to express their wishes for a lifetime love.



02   Scarf

This is a common gift for girls in China to give to someone they adore, they usually choose to knit by themselves to show their sincerity. Also, it's a good chance to prove they are clever and deft.

So what does it mean to give a scarf as a gift? We all know that we wear scarves when it's cold and we always round it around our necks. The pronunciation of scarf in Chinese is 'wéi jīn', 'wéi' stands for around, which tells a girl's wish to be around you and give you warmth all the time.



03   99/999 Roses

Rose always represents love in western cultures, the idea is also taken and widely used in China nowadays. But the number of the roses one should give is a trick - why is it always 99 or 999 or 9999?! Is 9 a lucky number in China? The truth is, the pronunciation of 9 in Chinese is 'jiǚ', same pronunciation as the word '久', which means a long time. 

So giving someone 99/999 roses means 'will love you a long long time'. The more 9s, the longer you wish your love with someone.



04   520/1314  in Red Packet

Wechat red packet is an interesting function that many people like to use in China. Also, Chinese tend to show their love into actions instead of just sweet talk. Giving red packet is seen as the most direct and practical way to show care and love.

While '1314' is read as 'yī sān yī sì' in Chinese, it's quite similar to 'yī shēng yī shì一生一世' which means 'a whole life' in Chinese. A lot of people will choose this way to show their love, it's not very romantic, but come on, who would turn down a handsome red packet?!


The New Sweet Talk


In ancient times, poets tended to show their hearts in a more implicative way, however, today's culture encourages us to speak out bravely, so an interesting style of love talk is springing up - 土味情话(tǔ wèi qíng huà). 

It means to express your love in a humorous way with some obscure words which pronunciation may lead to another meaning in Chinese or some dramatic metaphors to express your love more directly, here we collected some very interesting ones for you:

1. 苦海无涯,回头是我  There is no boundary for the sea of misery. Turn back. And you'll see me.


2. 你猜我是什么血型? 我是你的理想型  Do you know what my blood type is? I'm the ideal type that you want.

3. 你猜我的心在左边还是右边?它在你那边  Which side do you think my heart is on? Left or right? It's on your side.

4. 你累不累啊,你都在我心里跑了一天了  Are you tired? You've been running in my heart for a whole day.

5. 你怎么这么宅?你呆在我心里之后就没动过  Why are you such an otaku(someone likes to stay at home)?You haven't moved even a little bit ever since you came into my heart.

6. 咱俩的友情到头了,该发展爱情了  I think it's time for us to end this friendship. Let's start a relationship.

7. 你有地图吗?我在你眼里迷了路  Do you have a map? I’m getting lost in your eyes.

8. 1到10分,给你9分,缺我一分  on a scale of 1-10, I would rate you 9/10, because I’m the 1 you need. 



Actions than Words

In China, an interesting phenomenon is that couples, especially those who married for a long time, seldom speak their love out. In fact, it is a stereotype in China that a man who talks less is more brilliant for his actions will speak for him, too much of sweet talk is seen as not reliable. So Chinese tend to put their love into actions instead. To prove you truly love someone, show it by actions!


Now do you have a better understanding of how we shy Chinese express our love? Today may be your first 520 in China, grab this opportunity of expressing your love to someone, it is simple, it is 5-2-0! 


Wish you love and be loved!