Space roses go on sale ahead of Chinese Valentine’s Day
The first batch of 200 “space roses,” the seeds for which were brought into space by the Shenzhou IV spacecraft in 2002, officially went on sale ahead of Chinese Valentine’s Day on Friday.
The roses, a miniature palm rose type, originated from a batch of flower seeds that entered space on board the Shenzhou IV spacecraft 19 years ago. After returning to Earth, they were specially screened and cultivated in labs, according to a post by the cultural and creative souvenirs unit under China Aerospace Construction Group Co.
Space roses are very different from ordinary roses in terms of flower type and flowering period. They can be kept fresh for one to two months, longer than ordinary ones. The longer flowering period symbolizes long-lasting romance.
“When you see a space rose, you not only witness the strength of China’s space program, but also Chinese people’s long yearning for astronomical progress,” read a card together with the rose, a post from a Weibo netizen showed.
Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as Qixi, falls on Saturday this year. The Chinese Valentine’s Day is based on a story about lovers meeting in space. The two lovers, Niulang and Zhinu (Cowherd and Weaver Girl), were separated at two ends of the Milky Way. Every year, only on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month can they get together by the magpies bridge. To extol the sad and beautiful love between them, later generations market the seventh day of the seventh lunar month as Chinese Valentine’s Day.