Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Latest fad in China: nude photo shoots for Valentine

Amazing to see how quickly Western celebrations are picked up by people in China. Valentine's Day seems to have hit the Middle Kingdom with a vengeance.

Chinese florists have hit the jackpot, and a Shanghai-based website www.51.com had to set up a special page for women seeking one-day boyfriends in order to cope with high demand. But the greatest boon is for photographic studios, who find customers prepared to shell out anything between $200 and $1000 for photo shoots to record their relationship. In line with long-time Chinese habits - wedding couples can be seen roaming cities for scenic spots in full drag, weeks before their weddings - sessions can be done in advance, as long as the photos can be picked up on Valentine's Day itself.

This year's Hot Tip for avid followers of fashion: nude portraits. According to Zhou Yanlin, the manager of Beijing's Qingniao photo studio, around 30% of couples opt for having their photo taken topless or in the nude. Others go to the place where they first met, or rent props that have special meaning in their relationships. Zhou Yanlin: "People now just see relationships as an experience." (Source: South China Morning Post)

Indeed they do. Still, the ready acceptance of an obscure Catholic Saint's martyrdom is all the more remarkable since China already has its own Valentine's Day. Qi Qiao Jie, the seventh eve of the seventh month, celebrates the ancient myth of the seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven, who fell in love with a cowherd.

This year's Daughter's Festival, as it is also called, will be on July 31st. Will St Valentine beat the Seventh Daughter?

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