Valentines Day, aka “Catch Your Lover Day” in China

A Valentines Day billboard has Shijiazhuang residents talking:

“Don’t get off track on Valentines Day — Let love return home (不要出轨情人节,让爱回家 – bú yào chū guǐ qíng rén jié ,ràng ài huí jiā).”

Apparently, Valentines Day is a special day for people in monogamous relationships, but not necessarily for the reason you would expect: many husbands/wives hire private detectives to see if their spouses are cheating on them.

And so, there’s some new Chinese slang for Valentines Day (情人节 – qín rén jié) in China: 擒人节(qín rén jié), or “Catch Your Lover Day.”  

To be precise, 擒人节(qín rén jié) has two meanings:

  1. The day when husbands/wives hire private detectives to investigate whether their spouses are engaged in affairs.
  2. The day when single people look for another person to spend Valentines Day with.

Here’s a breakdown of the characters in 擒人节(qín rén jié): 

擒 (qín): to catch or capture

人 (rén): human or person (here it could also be considered to be short for lover – 情人- qíng rén)

节 ( jié): holiday

Here are a couple examples of how to use the word 擒人节(qín rén jié):

Example 1)

“在私家侦探行业,情人节这一天变成了名副其实的擒人节 “

“zài sī jiā zhēn tàn háng yè, qíng rén jié zhè yī tiān biàn chéng le míng fù qí shí de qín rén jié

“In the private detective industry, this day Valentines Day has truly become ‘catch people day‘”

Example 2)

“情人节也被人戏称为擒人节,说的是表白成功,擒获爱人 “

“qíng rén jié yě bèi rén xì chēng wéi qín rén jié, shuō de shì biǎo bái chéng gōng, qín huò ài rén “

“Valentines Day has also been called Catch a Lover Day; meaning you profess your love successfully, and catch your lover”

Hope that you have a real Valentines Day – (情人节 – qín rén jié) – and not a 擒人节(qín rén jié)!

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