Peculiar tradition in People’s Square Shanghai on Saturday

peculiar tradition in people's square shanghai

Every Saturday in Shanghai’s People’s Square, a peculiar tradition takes place known as the “marriage market.” This unique event is a gathering of parents and grandparents looking to find suitable partners for their single children and grandchildren.

The marriage market starts early in the morning and continues until late afternoon, with rows of umbrellas shading the parents and grandparents from the sun. On display are pages of personal ads, complete with a photo and a description of the eligible bachelor or bachelorette, including age, education, income, and even zodiac sign. Some ads are handwritten, while others are professionally printed.

Potential suitors and their families roam the aisles, scanning the ads and taking notes on those who catch their eye. If they find a potential match, they will approach the parents or grandparents and ask for more information. If the interested parties decide they want to meet, the parents or grandparents will exchange contact information and set up a date.

The atmosphere at the marriage market is surprisingly cheerful and relaxed, with vendors selling snacks and drinks, and elderly couples ballroom dancing in the open squares. There is also a sense of community as parents and grandparents share stories about their children and grandchildren and offer each other advice.

While the tradition may seem strange to outsiders, it reflects the importance of marriage and family in Chinese culture. For many parents, finding a suitable spouse for their child is not just a matter of love but also a matter of practicality. They believe that a good match will lead to stability and prosperity for their child and future grandchildren.

However, the marriage market has faced criticism from younger generations who feel that it is outdated and intrusive. Some young people feel pressured by their parents’ expectations and prefer to find partners on their own terms.

Despite the criticism, the marriage market continues to draw crowds every Saturday, with new faces joining the mix each week. It remains a fascinating and unique glimpse into the matchmaking culture of Shanghai and China as a whole.

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