November 1, 2016

Chinese Marriage Markets

It surprised me, when I asked around, the amount of people who had heard of the famous Chinese Marriage Markets. To be honest, though, I only heard about them from my sister last year and then did some research into them to find out what they were about. And I was truly amazed at how different the people go around getting partners for themselves. However, it isn't necessarily the people themselves who find them a partner...

A few weeks ago, stupidly going during the Autumn Festival, a few friends and I ventured off to People's Square to have a wander around the marriage market and find out more about how it works. A marriage market is held in People's Park every weekend, where parents and some grandparents will crowd over to the park to advertise their unmarried child(ren). On these advertisements displays information about their children; age, height, job, income, education, phone number and more. Parents will discuss with other parents about their children to find their child's perfect match. Most bizarrely, a lot of parents do not get permission from their child to go to these events and display their information to the public.

I had an idea what to expect but I did not expect the big crowds or attention towards us foreigners; I actually got invited to an old mans house to meet his grandson...of course I didn't say yes. They are not afraid to pop up and start questioning you and your life, well this man definitely wasn't anyway.

After a good hours walk around, we wanted to have a wander around the whole park, which was absolutely stunning. The colours, nature, wildlife, the people; all so beautiful and in one of the busiest and most popular places in Shanghai. We went to find this waterfall, which we eventually did, and walked to the top to find out it had dried up; no wonder it took so long to find.

My friends headed back but I wanted to stay around the area to witness the large crowds and wander around the little pop-up market stalls.

I must say, you don't know what a crowd is until you have been in Shanghai, or a major Chinese city, during a national holiday, it was hell! Even though I was expecting this, I wanted to experience it to see just what it is like and why it is always headlined on social I know. That was only the Mid-Autumn Festival, imagine what Chinese New Year will be like!!

I thought it was a good idea to get out of these crowds after a struggle to get through them. Typically, as soon as I got to the metro station, they closed it (they tend to close the popular ones when it gets too crowded) so I had to walk a good few miles to get to another metro station. I knew there was one closer but I brought my camera with me on the day so wanted a change of environment to capture on photograph.

Have you been to a marriage market before? Have you witnessed bad crowds like these, where?

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