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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hong Kong Series at CantoneseClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind holidays and observances in Hong Kong. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 6- Valentine's Day. In Cantonese, Valentine’s Day is called 情人節.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you- Can you guess how much a dozen roses costs on Valentine's Day in Hong Kong?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
On Valentine's day in Hong Kong, the streets are filled with couples. The must-do routine for this romantic holiday in Hong Kong is to have a date with candlelit dinner, 燭光晚餐, sometimes followed by a romantic movie afterwards.
Like in many cultures, couples in Hong Kong often exchange gifts on this day. It is typical for the guy in the relationship to give his girlfriend something expensive, like jewelry, 首飾, or a designer handbag, 名牌手袋, while the girl usually buys electronic products, 電子產品, or clothing for her boyfriend.
Another custom in Hong Kong is ordering flowers to the office. Some girls request that their boyfriends send them big bouquets of flowers to the office to show to them off to their colleagues. Sometimes, girls will even order the flowers for themselves.
Gift-giving and romantic dates on Valentine's Day make the holiday a high-spending event, and a lot of people criticize the day for becoming too commercialized. However, it seems that lately, more and more people are celebrating Valentine's Day in alternative ways to avoid the high costs of traditional modes of celebration. For instance, some people cook together at home as opposed to going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Others will exchange handmade cards instead of buying expensive gifts. Romance doesn't have to be linked with money or material goods, don't you agree?
Since Valentine's Day is a romantic holiday, a lot of men propose to their girlfriends. In Cantonese, “propose” is 求婚 and “marriage” is 結婚。
Recently, there have been a lot of break-ups, or 分手 on this day as well, which people in Hong Kong refer to as a "break-up trend." Break-ups could be attributed to all sorts of reasons, such as if the bouquet the girlfriend received is not as impressive as her colleagues', or if her boyfriend doesn't want to dine at a fancy restaurant. The differences in values between two people in a relationship can be made strikingly obvious on this day.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Can you guess how much a dozen roses costs on Valentine's Day in Hong Kong?
A dozen roses generally cost somewhere between 800 to 1,000 Hong Kong Dollars on Valentine's Day. This corresponds to roughly 100 to 130 US Dollars. Of course, it costs more if it's from a fancy florist. Is that expensive or cheap compared to standard rates in your country?
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
In your country, how do people celebrate Valentine's Day?
Leave us a comment at CantoneseClass101.com
We'll see you next time!