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For special Qixi date, try seeing fireflies
By Jiang Xinhua

TIRED of the fragrant roses and heart-shaped chocolates, dining out or watching a movie for Chinese Valentine’s Day?

Also known as Qixi Festival, this year the special day for lovers is today. Those who want to leave an extraordinary memory to their lover could spend a romantic night with fireflies dancing in a starry sky. The Firefly Water Carnival, which will run through September 10 at the Lavender and Egret Love Park on Chongming Island, promises an amazing date.

Covering an area of 200 hectares, the place is a combination of love-themed park and ecological lifestyle farm. With many themed landscapes like the Love Valley, Dreaming Land, Wish Fairy and Yuelao (God of Love) Bridge, the park is filled with lavender and more than 10 kinds of herbs, such as sweet basil and rosemary.

As the highlight of today’s Chinese Valentine’s Day, thousand of human-raised fireflies will light up the sky.

“My father made a proposal of marriage at the field full of fireflies. I think it is so romantic to spend a night with my love. However, the luminescent insects are now harder to find,” says a visitor surnamed Zhang, who takes his girlfriend to see the fireflies in the tent. “I really want to create a special date for my darling to experience this scene of fairy land. At that moment, I can feel time standing still.”

As night falls, people get quiet and wait for the magic scene within a 40-square-meter netted area. Dog’s tail grasses are swaying with the warm breeze of summer. Under the sky dazzling with stars, the fireflies dance in couples or triples. “This is the first time I have seen so many fireflies and I feel like I am in a galaxy. It is so amazing!” says Michael Wang.

Fireflies belong to the beetle family and are usually brown, having two pairs of wings and three pairs of jointed legs. The light is produced chemically from the lower abdomen.

“Fireflies use the light to attract mates. The adults produce light to identify species, seek a mate and procreate,” says Xu Haojie, manager of the park. “The fireflies are beneficial insects.”

The carnival also features barbecue, beer, camping and open-air cinema. There’s even a well-arranged spot for karaoke to find the best voice in the park. After music, dancing and screaming, it’s time to lie down on the grass and count the stars. People fall asleep amid the sound of chirping and croaking.


The best time to see fireflies is one hour after sunset in the summer.

When you search for fireflies, you need to wait patiently and use a dim light to avoid light pollution. It’s best to search near water and bamboo forests.

If you want to take photos of fireflies, you need a tripod, a camera with a large aperture as well as post processing.

Fireflies are very fragile. Do not use a flashlight or mobile phone. The light may frighten and hurt them.

Fireflies are considered beneficial as they consume snails, which eat crops and other plants.

If you go

Lavender and Egret Love Park

Opening hours: Through September 10, 4-10pm for the firefly carnival; 8am-4pm, normal park hours.

Tel: 5103-6343

Address: 2018 Beiyan Rd, Chongming

Admission: 98 yuan (US$ 16)

The carnival package including the entrance tickets, fireflies and other entertainment like carting, CS laser contest, fishing and arrow shooting. There are also outdoor barbecues and midnight snacks. To keep a good environment for fireflies, crowds are limited to 1,000 per day. Reservation is required.


How to get there:

By driving: Changjiang Tunnel — Bridge Expressway — Chenhai Road — Panlong Road

By bus: Shenchong No. 3 Line starts from Wenshui Road in Zhabei District. Shenchong No. 6 Line starts from Jufeng Road in Pudong.

By ferry: Take Metro Line 3 to Baoyang Road Pier for the ferry — every half an hour from 6:30am to 5:30pm.

Customer Service: (86-21) 52920164