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520: A Chinese Love Word and Number to Know

During this lovely day, couples go on a date or spend time together. And for those who are single, well, it’s a perfect time for them to be brave and show their love to their main crush! Nobody can resist a declaration of love on this special event!

How did 5.20 come to equal a Chinese love word that says I love you?

Talking about this special event, you may wonder why it occurs on this day and not another one in Chinese. The answer is quite simple. It’s all about the sounds. When you write May 20th in numbers, it’s written 5.20. When you pronounce the numbers 5. 2. 0 in Chinese, 五二零 wǔ èr líng, they sound very close to the words 我爱你 wǒ ài nǐ. See? They don’t sound exactly the same, but they sound quite similar, and that’s enough! The Chinese love plays on homophonic words and numbers with hidden meanings.
520 originally started as a slang word used by the Chinese online as a shortcut to say I love you in Chinese, like ILY in English. It then came to be associated with the date May 20th (5.20), which therefore became a very romantic day!

The Chinese love numbers and their hidden meanings

The Chinese people sure love this romantic day, as they have strong beliefs when it comes to numbers. You may know how some numbers are considered lucky and some unauspicious in Chinese. Certain number combinations also have secret meanings.

For example, did you hear of the wedding record set in China on the 2012.12.12? In China, tons of couples got married on that special day because it was said to be a lucky day for lovers. See, in Chinese, you can pronounce 12 一二 yāo èr. (in Chinese, when talking about a phone number or a street, 1 is pronounced yāo instead of yī). The sound of yāoèr is close to the sound of 要爱 yào ài which means to want love. So 2012.12.12 stood for “to want love, to want love, to want love”. What a lovely day to get married, huh?!