Walk into the famous People’s Park in People’s Square (on Metro Line 2) — the heart of Shanghai City — on any weekend between 12 pm and 5 pm, and you will see something strange — a huge gathering of people which is the bustling Marriage Market.
At first glance of this crowd, the author thought it to be some real-estate brokering day event of sorts, but realized this to be more on the lines of a marriage brokering weekly event where desperate parents and grandparents are milling about, looking for a mate for their unmarried offspring. It may sound quite crude, but actually this is traditional and a regular activity for the middle aged and the elderly folks. China Highlights was curious to know more about what exactly goes on there.
What Goes On
We found that most of the folks there were anxious mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts and even grandparents looking for a good match for their sons and daughters of marriageable age (which is open to debate). We have to warn you that this section of the park can get very crowded at this time. But it is a one of a kind experience that fascinates you as you walk through scores of pamphlets (snapshot biographies) lining up the pathways and animated parents and grandparents involved in heated discussions and ‘brokering’ marriage deals, wondering what special qualities of the brides and grooms are being advertised. We even spotted a fortune teller — possibly reading out the fates of some lucky fellow.
People line up here, sitting on the ground with biographies stuck on umbrellas (making it their private stalls), discussing futures of young people, who, in all probability, are not too happy with this arrangement. We didn’t really see any eager-to-be bride or groom and suspect the enthusiasm is fueled purely by the parents.
The pamphlet biographies include details such as birthdays, height, weight, hobbies, job of the candidates and figures that seemed like monthly incomes of the candidates. Some may even have a photo, giving it a real life dating website feel in a funny way. Don’t feel strange if you get eyed from top to bottom there by curious mothers. We thought it was a good way to pass some time, observing serious conversations amid hordes of ‘marriage agents’.
If you get hungry or want to grab a beer, drop into the famous Barbarossa — a Moroccan lounge bar and a restaurant inside People’s Park. They have a 50% off happy hour deal daily from 5 pm to 8 pm.
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