Valentine's Day, 5th day of New Year liven businesses

Taipei (The China Post/ANN) - Local restaurants yesterday experienced a sales boost due to Valentine's Day, which coincided with the fifth day of the ongoing Chinese New Year holiday - a day which most restaurants reopen for business.

Almost all major restaurants around the country were reportedly fully booked due to the convergence of the two holidays.

A spokesperson of a local restaurant told the Central News Agency that they had received countless calls from people looking to book a table for family gatherings. In the past, most people called to book a table on Valentine's Day for a romantic dinner, the spokesperson explained.

Moreover, due to a higher demand for flowers on Valentine's Day, prices for a bouquet of roses rose significantly to NT$1,200 (US$40), the highest in nearly a decade.

The price surge was also due to a limited supply of flowers during the New Year break, according to flower vendors in Taipei.

President and First Lady

To celebrate Valentine's Day, President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday posted a photograph of himself and first lady Chow Mei-ching on his Facebook page.

In the photograph, Ma is seen eating dessert during a national banquet, while Chow, who is seated next to him, looks at her husband with a frown on her face.

Ma said that the photograph had been framed and is currently sitting on his desk at the Presidential Office.

At the bottom of the photograph, a caption reads: "How did I end up marrying this kind of man?" Ma explained that for him, the photograph epitomizes happiness.

This year Valentine's Day falls on the fifth day of Chinese New Year, the president pointed out, adding that Valentine's Day is not only a holiday for lovers, but also a day for people to express their love and gratitude for those close to them.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Meanwhile, in New Taipei City's Pingxi District, a giant heart-shaped sky lantern, along with thousands of smaller lanterns, were set off last night to officially kick off the district's annual sky lantern festival.

New Taipei's Tourism and Travel Department said "love" will be the main theme for this year, because "2013" is a homophone for "love you for a lifetime" in Mandarin.

On Feb. 17 and 24, thousands of paper lanterns are expected to light up the sky.

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