Random Observations: Marriages in China

Coming from the thought process that Indian and Chinese culture are similar in lots of ways, I was very surprised to find that in most parts of china, it is expected that boys and girls will find their life partners on their own, rather than parents helping them (the so-called ‘arranged marriage‘ which is so prevalent in India). I am still surprised and not convinced, but I have been told by all of my reliable sources that except in few villages, norm is indeed to find your own partner. I always thought that evolution from parent-controlled adults to self-controlled ones is associated with economic prosperity and cultural independence, but I guess I was wrong. I still plan to try and know more about the evolution of this part of culture. Another aspect of marriage that surprised me is that boy’s parents are supposed to give a house to the newly-wed, and this is so important that marriages are delayed, put on hold, and sometimes canceled if this condition is not met. Given the fact that houses are getting so expensive, I am told that modification to this rule is that parents will pay the down payment and the newly-weds will pay the mortgage (installments). So if you cannot afford a house (or if your parents can’t afford one if you are a boy), you cannot get married. This is unlike India in two ways. In India, it is girl’s family which has to bear all the costs of marriage (dowry system). Also, having a house of your own is a luxury, very few can afford even in cities, and hence having a house at the time of (or right after) marriage is not an option considered by many. However, parents on both sides do start pestering the newly-wed to save and invest enough to be able to afford a house as soon as they can!

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