Chinese parks are quite a different sort of experience, other than being a place for people to try and sell off their sons and daughters for marriage to other families, it’s the only place people are really able to go out and practice their kung fu, dancing, singing, musical instruments etc. Of course there are the regular activities such as having a picnic, hiking and playing sports (as well as some boating and fishing) available as well. Come and join Sasha and I as we get the low down on how Chinese parks work.
The primary goal of attending the marriage market is for parents to find a suitable partner for their child. The standards of finding the right match may be based upon (but not limited to) age, height, job, income, education, family values, Chinese zodiac sign, and personality. All of this information is written on a piece of paper, which is then hung upon long strings among other parents’ advertisements for their children. The parents walk around chatting with other parents to see if there is a harmonious fit only after their children’s standards are met.
Umbrellas used for advertising
Many parents do not have permission from their child to go to this event. It has been described as “match.com meets farmers’ market” with a low success rate. In many parents’ eyes, parent matchmaking gatherings such as the Marriage Market are the only way to uphold a traditional dating style for their children in modern China. China’s long idealized tradition of continuing their family lineage is very important within Chinese culture. As the children of the One Child Policy start to become of typical marriage age, the so-called marriage “market” of China has wavered in stability, particularly for males in China. The University of Kent predicts that by the year 2020, 24 million men will be unmarried and unable to find a wife.
Recently, well-educated women in China with established careers are in less of a hurry to get married. They have more options than women in past generations and are not afraid to put their career first. This change in marriage ideology puts the women in a higher position of power within a traditionally male-dominated society. Now more women seek to find a responsible man with personal integrity instead of just a high paying job.
Many men’s standards have changed with the progression of women’s status in the work industry as well, they expect a woman that has been educated and well on her way to a career path. But what has drastically changed is the older generations viewpoint on the subject—they agree with the younger generation, with the two most important qualities in a wife being “elegance and a decent career path,” quite a change from “diligence and the willingness to suffer the burden of life”.