Today marks qixi, dubbed the Chinese Valentine's Day, which is on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year, and many couples are celebrating with fireflies.
"Fireflies have been considered quite an out-of-the-ordinary idea by an increasing number of young people, especially this year," Lu Jinju, a Taobao storeowner, told the Global Times.
As the holiday drew nearer, sales of fireflies surged so dramatically that Lu and two other storeowners ran out of stock.
"Earlier this month, I could only sell 70 fireflies per day, at the price of 3 or 4 yuan ($0.44 or 0.59), but today, the day before Valentine's Day, 1,200 have been snapped up for 10 yuan ($1.47) per firefly," Lu said. "We currently have had to stop providing home delivery services owing to the demand."
|Fireflies have been considered quite an out-of-the-|
ordinary idea by an increasing number of young people.
Although tiny lightning bugs add a romantic ambience for couples in love, they are not easy to feed and transport, a firefly feeder and supplier named Tang Xiaoya told the Global Times. "It takes three years for a firefly to evolve from an egg to a larva, then to an adult, but it only has a lifespan of 10 days or so."
Transportation is another ordeal. "The mortality rate is about 10 percent, sometimes even up to 50 percent in the hot and stuffy environment during transportation from Taizhou to Beijing," Tang explained.
Even with a field of seven hectares in Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, specialized for feeding fire-flies, Tang still couldn't satisfy the huge demand before qixi, when the number of orders surged to 5,000 fireflies per day, 10 times that of before Valentine's Day.
A 22-year-old man named Bai Long is among the firefly enthusiasts; he paid 190 yuan ($27.97) for 20 fireflies. "Fireflies were the first choice of gift I wanted to buy for my girl," he said. "I didn't mean to splash the cash, but it's obviously the most romantic gift that I can come up with."
According to Bai, only lightning bugs could convey his love to his girlfriend.
"I hope our love will be as precious as the fireflies' beautiful light, although she is thousands of miles away in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," Bai said, adding, "I hope that my precious gift does not turn out to be a bunch of dead bodies. That would be terrible, and definitely scare my girlfriend."