Dating and marriage rituals in china
Pan Wang does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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By looking at the development of Chinese television dating shows, we can see how love and marriage changed from a ritualized system mired in the past to the liberated, Western-style version we see today.
Marriage matchmaking has always been an important cultural practice in China.
For generations, marriage was arranged by parents who followed the principle of “matching doors and windows,” which meant that people needed to marry those of similar social and economic standing.
Marriage was viewed as a contract between two households, and it was for the purpose of procreation, not love.
Thought to contribute to peace and stability, it was the dominant custom into the latter half of the 20th century.
But China’s 1978 “Open Door Policy,” which transitioned the country from a rigid, centrally planned economy to a global, market-based economy, exposed the Chinese people to an array of outside cultural influences.