520: The Chinese Number that Expresses Love

520, when pronounced in Chinese (wǔ’èrlíng), sounds similar to the homophonic phrase ‘I love you’, or wǒ ài nǐ. Therefore, the number 520, 五二零, represents 我爱你. May 20th, written with numbers as 5.20, is an extremely meaningful day when people across China celebrate love and express their love!

520 originated as a slang word used by Chinese online community as a shortcut to writing I love you in Chinese. This can be compared to people writing ily or ILY in English. Over time, it began to be associated with May 20th (5.20), and thus China’s online day of love was born! The trend on this day is for post-80s and post-90s to express their adoration and love for a significant others, or perhaps someone they wish to be romantic with.

Many young lovers choose to register for marriage certificates on this day. Throughout Chinese cities, on May 20th government offices established for marriage certificates have extremely long lines of young couples eager to be get hitched.

Ready to convey your devotion to your lover? Working up the courage to tell your crush how you truly feel? Well, we here at HelloChinese are prepared and have a list of sweet nothings you can say to that special someone who makes your heart race and thoughts jumble.

Phrase #1: The simple and sweet I love you.

我爱你 wǒ ài nǐ

I love you.

Phrase #2: The straight and to the point I’m into you.

我喜欢你 wǒ xǐ huan nǐ

I’m into you.

Phrase #3: The heart-stopping reveal to your crush.

我暗恋你很久了 Wǒ ànliàn nǐ hěn jiǔle

I have a crush on you for a long time

暗恋: crush on

Phrase #4: The adoring expression of your love.

你是我的宝贝 Nǐ shì wǒ de bǎobèi

You’re my treasure.

Phrase #5: Confessing the depth of your feelings. 

我被你迷得神魂颠倒 Wǒ bèi nǐ mí dé shénhún diāndǎo

I’m so enamored by you.