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Tuesday, August 9, 2011
More 'naked marriages' in China
Without expensive preparation and rituals, Wang Shaowei and Zhang Xin tied the knot at a cost of nine yuan (RM4), which was spent on obtaining the marriage certificate.
The couple, who had just entered the workforce, did away with nearly all the traditional 'must haves' for a Chinese wedding: an apartment, a car, wedding rings as well as a lavish ceremony.
"We had a big dinner in our rented two-bedroom apartment to celebrate the start of our married life, and nothing else," said Wang, 26, who lives with his wife in Shijiazhuang, capital city of northern China's Hebei province.
In recent years, a growing number of young Chinese have opted for a 'naked marriage'. The term refers to a couple who get hitched without any major assets and who spend little on their wedding ceremony. Some do so because of their eagerness for independence, while others simply have no choice.
However, the frugal wedding of Wang and his wife, conducted behind their parents' backs, upset their older relatives. The newly-weds were forced by their parents to hold a delayed, but grand wedding ceremony, and later moved into an apartment purchased by Wang's family and received a car bought by Zhang's parents.
"My parents can't accept a wedding without a new apartment or rituals. My mother says, 'It's ridiculous to marry a woman with nine yuan!'' Zhang said.
The concept of naked marriage is in sharp contradiction to China's established marriage customs, which call for parents to help lay the material foundation for their children's marriages.
Generally, getting married may cost the bridegroom's family years of savings, which is supposed to pay for a house - or at least the down payment - and a red carpet ceremony, as well as decent betrothal gifts for the bride's family.
The bride's family may consider funding the home renovation, or buying a car, depending on their financial position.
The naked marriage phenomenon, which was coined in 2008 by Internet users, has drawn much discussion after a popular TV series, Naked Marriage Age, struck a chord with many young Chinese adults, especially those born in the 1980s.
The drama depicts the bittersweet life of a young couple who had a naked marriage and fought for a better life.
According to a poll conducted by the social investigation centre of the China Youth Daily prior to this year's Chinese Valentine's Day, Qixi Festival, which fell on Saturday, nearly 48 per cent of 3,214 respondents said they supported the idea of naked marriages, while 23 per cent opposed it.
The survey also found that 55 per cent of the respondents viewed courage as essential when opting for such marriages, and 43 per cent agreed that the married life of such couples would be tougher than that of their financially better-off peers.
Experts said the increasing acceptance of naked marriages shows a more open-minded attitude among the youth.