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Traditional Chinese weddings back in vogue

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-01-15 10:30
A "new Chinese-style" group wedding is held in Jimo, Shandong province, on Nov 24.[Photo/Xinhua]

On the first day of this year, Sun Yi finally received the email she had long been waiting for. It contained the final version of her wedding plan.

The plan, which had gone through nearly 10 revisions, offered the 29-year-old a "new Chinese-style" wedding ceremony in March, which she described as being "traditional, but not old-fashioned" and "ritualistic but with style".

Since China's reform and opening-up began in the late 1970s, many couples living in big cities have emulated Western-style weddings, which they thought were more ceremonial and romantic.

However, in recent years, traditional Chinese weddings have been back in vogue among the country's couples, as many of them no longer consider Western-style gowns and vows of "I do" an essential part of the wedding ceremony.

Instead, they now prefer wearing clothes like those in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and performing traditional wedding rituals in the same way their ancestors did hundreds of years ago.

At a traditional Chinese wedding, the couple usually wear red, which symbolizes auspiciousness in Chinese culture, and the venue is also heavily decorated in red. The couple perform a three-bow ritual-to heaven and earth, to their parents and to each other.

In Lanzhou, Gansu province, several wedding planning companies spare no effort promoting their Chinese-style wedding packages, which offer a wide range of choices.

Chinese-style weddings account for nearly 40 percent of the company's orders, and couples often need to make reservations six months in advance.

Wang Yiru, a wedding planner at Lanzhou Xinxin Wedding Service, said the preparation for a Chinese-style wedding is usually very time-consuming and costly.

Chinese-style wedding ceremonies usually cost more than 40,000 yuan ($5,775) and some even exceed 200,000 yuan. That usually covers the expenses of venue design, photography, makeup services and hiring a master of ceremonies.

Wang Zongli, a professor at Northwest Normal University, said: "Wedding ceremonies reflect social and cultural changes. As people's living standards improve, they go for more individualized choices."

Experts believe that the revival of interest in Chinese-style weddings is part of a larger social and cultural trend that prizes tradition over modernity.

"With China's economic and social development, many young people are starting to search for their cultural identity, which is also a reflection of their growing cultural confidence," said Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the Belt and Road Research Center at Lanzhou University.




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