Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shanghai's Marriage Fair

The article was mostly about the Chinese frenzy to book weddings for this year, which is not only an auspicious year but which is surrounded by unlucky years.

However, it was the sub-plot about the People's Park 'Parents of Unmarried Children Bazaar' which interested me.

What do you think? This has got to be at least as good as Speed Dating. And I've thought for a long time that, considering what a bad job many of us do choosing our own spouses, arranged marriages don't look that bad.

Marry This Year: In China, All Signs Point to Wedded Bliss
Zodiac and Lunar Calendar Smile on Happy Couples

by Gordon Fairclough and Loretta Chao, June 19, 2006

A rare quirk of the lunar calendar -- and its alignment with the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac -- has set off a wedding frenzy in China, as brides and grooms try to harness the forces of cosmic fortune to strengthen their marriages.

Yan Guiying is intent on finding a husband for her 27-year-old daughter. For more than two months, she has turned up every Saturday at People's Park in Shanghai for what is essentially a bustling market of parents trying to find mates for their children.

Clutching a hand-lettered sign with her daughter's vital statistics -- she's five-feet-three-inches tall, weighs 105 pounds, has white skin and earns $560 a month as a fashion designer for an Italian company -- Ms. Yan joined hundreds of other mothers and fathers trading their children's pictures and statistics.

"I'm very anxious," said Ms. Yan, a retired bank clerk. "Everyone wants their kids to get married this year."

"I want my son to get married this year," says Zhang Yongfang, who started coming to the People's Park matchmaking gatherings in February.

But, she says, she's worried. It's already June and she hasn't found any takers so far. She holds out photos of her 27-year-old son in a green vinyl portfolio. "We are running out of time," says Ms. Zhang. "He can't get married next year. That would be horrible. He'll have to wait until the year after that."

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At 6:45 AM, Blogger Craig said...

When you go to China and find the shop where you buy the pre-paid sim card for your cell phone, they hand you a book and ask you to pick out the telephone number you want. The price range is amazing. Some numbers are practically free, others cost a small fortune. You can get one that's real cheap, but it's better to pay a little more if you really expect Chinese people to return your calls.


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