520. I love you.

This phrase never comes easy in any language. Probably because all the implications it comes with. We’re all afraid to say it, but we want to hear it.

Although, now that I think of it, even hearing it can be scary. How should I reply? “Thank you, that’s nice of you to say.” doesn’t really seem appropriate as a reply. “I love you too.” it’s easy to say as a joke, in reply to a joke, but to a serious love declaration it might seem to be due to pressure.

Maybe replying with a kiss or a hug would be the best bet? If you really feel like saying something, my advice would be to go for “520, babe”.

Obviously if it’s not mutual and “me too” is not the case, the best response is to turn around and run away.

Truth be told, the only person in my life to whom it’s always easy to say both “I love you” and “I love you too” is my grandpa. Every single time I call him, after he tells me dirty jokes and family gossip, he will always finish the conversation with “Grandpa loves you.”. “I love you too, grandpa” just comes natural as a reply.

520. Let’s transform words into codes.

If “I love you” it’s so difficult to say, maybe 520 would be easier, especially if it also comes with a date – today, 20th of May (520).

Today is the day to confess your love in China. It’s not a Chinese festival, it’s not Valentine’s Day, but it’s Chinese Internet slang at its best, secret love code developed online.

Chinese love homophones – fish is considered to bring luck because in Chinese the words “fish” and “luck” sound similar (yu), giving a book to a business man is not appropriate because the words “book” and “to lose” in Chinese sound similar (shu), 4 brings bad luck because the word “4” and “death” sound similar (si) and there are thousands more of these examples.

Chinese also love numbers. So when they combine their love for numbers with their love for homophones, funny and clever things are born.

520 is a good example for that: 五  wu (5) 二er (2) 零 ling (0), when pronounced in Chinese, sounds similar to 我 wo (I) 爱ai (love) 你ni (you).

The numbers also represent a date because the date format used by most Chinese is mm.dd. What started like an online love code, transformed into a day of confessing love.

If you receive today a message that says “5201314”, you should know it’s not a phone number, but a strong love declaration. 一yi (1) 三san (3)一yi (1) 四 si (4) sounds similar to 一yi生sheng一yi世shi which stands for “all my life”.

Or maybe someone will write to you 240. 二er (2)四si (4)零ling (0) sounds like  爱 ai 死 si你 ni which stands for “I love you to death”/”I love you very much”.

This looks like a Botswana phone number 7758258, but if you know Chinese, it will be yet another love code: 七qi (7)七qi (7) 五 wu (5) 八 ba (8) 二 er (2) 五 wu (5) 八 ba (8) sounds like 亲 qin (kiss)亲 qin (kiss)  我 wo (me) 吧 ba (particle without meaning used for requests) 爱 ai (love) 我 wo (me) 吧 ba. So what would read ”Kiss me, love me”.

By the way, if you want to reach me, I have changed my phone number only for today. It’s 751314240.

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