Part of complete coverage on
Holiday dilemma: Celebrate Lantern Festival or Valentine's Day?
February 20, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
Chinese revelers end their 15-day Lunar New Year celebrations with Lantern Festival, or Yuanxiao Festival. This year's Lantern Festival falls on February 14.
Lantern Festival 2014
First full moon
Fireworks and tangyuan
Confucius Temple, Nanjing
Chinese Valentine's Day
Lantern Festival vs. Valentine's Day
Splendid China Folk Village, Shenzhen
- China's Lantern Festival takes place on the last day of Lunar New Year celebrations
- This year's festival falls on Valentine's Day
- Chinese celebrate the first full moon by eating rice dumplings with meat fillings
(CNN) -- After millions of firecrackers lit and millions of gallons of baijiu (rice wine) gulped, revelers around China conclude the country's 15-day Lunar New Year celebrations with the colorful Lantern Festival, or Yuanxiao Festival.
On the 15th day of the first month of the new lunar year, Chinese celebrate the year's first full moon by eating hearty tangyuan (rice dumplings with sweet or meat fillings) with family and solving riddles written on cards hanging from lanterns.
The word "tangyuan" sounds similar to the Chinese word for "reunion" in both Mandarin and Cantonese, and signifies bonds between family members.
But there's a problem with this year's festival.
This year the Lantern Festival falls on February 14 -- Valentine's Day -- leading to widespread debate among Chinese netizens: Should you share tangyuan with family or chocolate with a lover?
MORE: 7 ways to celebrate Lunar New Year
According to ChinaNews.com, a recent survey indicates that 43.7% of respondents are choosing to celebrate Valentine's Day with a mate, while only 25.3% plan to spend Lantern Festival with their parents.
Although Lantern Festival is an important family festival, it's also known as one of China's two Valentine's Days (the other is on the seventh day on the seventh month of the lunar year).
In ancient times, unmarried girls were allowed to leave home only during Lantern Festival's celebration.
Hence, the day has traditionally been a popular one for loverbirds to meet.
Owing to the rare "dual holiday," in Hong Kong this year, twice as many couples are getting married on Valentine's Day as they did last year.
A total of 493 pairs of couples got married on Valentine's Day this year -- only 187 pairs got hitched on February 14, 2013.
The Lantern Festival is celebrated outside of China, in countries including Malaysia and Vietnam.
READ: 'Evil spirits': The truth about Chinese New Year
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Nonprofit Ethical Traveler has released its annual list of the developing countries doing the most to promote human rights and preserve their environments.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1036 GMT (1836 HKT)
These waterfront watering holes have killer ocean views, creative drinks and the mahalo vibe we demand.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
Can't wait to book your ticket to Indianapolis and Oakland? The venerable guidebook is right there with you
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
By helicopter, snowmobile and big-wheel truck across some of the world's most volatile landscapes.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 2142 GMT (0542 HKT)
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 1441 GMT (2241 HKT)
Inflight chatterboxes are annoying but they're not the worst violators of onboard etiquette, according to an Expedia study.
December 8, 2014 -- Updated 2232 GMT (0632 HKT)
These statues are awe-inspiring even for the strongest of non-believers.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1659 GMT (0059 HKT)
25 years after the death of Romania's communist dictator, tourism is helping heal old wounds.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
Photo sharing website names the top 10 destinations for geo-tagged snapshots.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
New York may be a paradise of Zagat-rated, Michelin-starred restaurants, but some of its best food can be found on the streets.
December 2, 2014 -- Updated 0601 GMT (1401 HKT)
Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana ups the eco stakes with what it claims is world's first battery-powered safari fleet.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
These quirky and beautiful subway stops make standing cheek-to-cheek with 45 strangers almost seem fun.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Luxury vintage Land Rover tours explore Bedouin backwaters without bashing up precious dunes.