Saturday, 4 May 2019

Shanghai's Marriage Market | Fuji X-Pro2

Every Saturday and Sunday since 1996, Shanghai’s Marriage Market (人民公园相亲角) in the large People's Square provides parents (and grandparents) the opportunity to advertise their unmarried children by posting their vital statistics such age, height, educational qualifications and work history. 

Regardless of weather, the marriage market is held and is a popular outing for many parents and very infrequently, for unmarried youngsters as well. Posted on umbrellas and walls, hundreds of adverts with personal details important to the Chinese such as height, age, income, education, Chinese zodiac sign, and whether they own a car or an apartment... and in some cases, photographs.

I spent hours on two occasions in the Marriage Market; mingling with the locals, trying with occasional success to be invisible; or at least to become a familiar but unobtrusive sight.

Examining a poster of a glamorous woman hanging from a grille (it's in the gallery) somewhat too closely, I was almost immediately accosted by an elderly man who asked me -in sign language- if I was interested in her. Before I could indicate that I wasn't, he had called out to a nearby woman who was either the mother or was a marriage broker. Naturally, I fled rather precipitously.

I had read that the rate of success from all these adverts are very law, so I believe that the Marriage Market is primally a regular weekly outing for retired people, an opportunity to socialize with like-minded traditionalists...and yes, perhaps a chance -even a slim one- in being successful at match-making. 

In the People's Square Metro station, there's a whole corridor that is full of small stores selling wedding dresses, and other wedding paraphernalia. It must have a connection to the Marriage Market, but none of the stores were busy when I was there.