Qixi Special: Gifts with heart

By Xu Junqian ( Shanghai Star ) Updated: 2014-08-02 08:43:04

Qixi Special: Gifts with heart

Love birds. Photo provided to Shanghai Star.

Qixi Special: Gifts with heart


Culture Insider: Qixi - the Chinese Valentine's Day

Qixi Special: Gifts with heart


Love tokens preferred by ancient Chinese 

Qixi Special: Gifts with heart

Handicrafts welcome Qixi Festival 

Forget about the chocolates, roses and perfumes, those lazy if fail-proof options. Put a little thought into your gift giving, and because Qixi is the day dedicated to lovers in China, we have thought up a list that has some uniquely Chinese elements in it. Xu Junqian has some pretty suggestions.

For the ladies

Bleeding Heart flowers(荷包牡丹)

Qixi Special: Gifts with heart


The Bleeding Heart has been dubbed the Chinese rose. 

Give her flowers, but give her something that speaks of your undying love, a message from a bleeding heart. This heart-shaped flower, in spite of its rather maudlin name, makes a perfect replacement for the sentimental rose as a token of affection.

In China, where the herbaceous perennials are native, the flower is considered a symbol of undying love because of a folktale. Legend has it that a young maiden was very good at making embroidered purses, also a traditional token of love.

The flowers she embroidered were so vivid that butterflies and bees would land on them. When her beloved was drafted into the army and sent to war, she sewed a purse every month he was away to vent her love-sickness. As time passed, the entire tree was soon filled with cherry-red purses, like flowers blooming on it.

That is also how the plant got its name, "purse peony" or "hebao mudan".

Despite the sorrowful story behind the flower, it is considered a symbol of undying devotion, and the meaning assigned to the flower is “yes” to courtship or a proposal.

Where to buy: The flowers are mostly sold as potted plants at florists or larger flower markets. They can also make a unique bouquet, or as a single blossom as a token of affection.

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