It comes as no surprise then that cities are following suit. In August of this year, Sanya issued a new proposal outlining marriage customs in the same spirit as the 2021 Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China.
There are three main encouragements: resist extravagance causing waste; adapt to new ideas and change unhelpful customs; continue on the excellent traditions of the past and establish good family practices.
The second and third encouragements can be celebrated by all who value strong families and thriving children. Ideas mentioned in the proposal for adapting to new marriage include, “trying collective weddings, travel marriages, participating in social welfare activities, planting a memorial tree and other forms [of ideas], for their own frugal memorable, romantic and warm modern wedding in order to set an example for society.”
Mentioned in the quote is a collective wedding, which according to Baike (a digital encyclopedia comparable to Wikipedia), such weddings were ‘imported’ from the West and first encouraged in Shanghai in 1935 with a wedding of 17 couples. Beijing later picked up the practice.
Collective wedding from 1935 in Shanghai. Image via Sina
The idea has been to encourage simplicity and change old customs. The digital encyclopedia entry states that the custom has not taken root in the heart of the people of China with some people claiming that it causes just as much waste as a traditional wedding.
Modern collective wedding. Image via Baike.
Nonetheless, the ideas proposed by Sanya authorities for establishing new customs could provide hotels, travel agents and retreat or wedding planners new means of making profit via creative advertizing.
An American couple joined the underwater collective wedding in Sanya in 2001. Image via Baike.
Sanya is not unfamiliar with new ideas regarding collective weddings. In 2001, the city hosted what was then the largest underwater collective wedding of 33 scuba-diving couples. It was recognized on site by Guinness World Record personnel.
The third encouragement of the proposal, to establish good family style and continue good traditions, props up “traditional family virtues of the Chinese nation.” These include “filial piety, love for the elderly, diligence and thrift in managing the family, knowledge of etiquette, good neighborliness and friendship, taking the lead in passing on family instructions, establishing family rules, promoting family ethos, fostering a healthy family atmosphere, and delivering exemplary strength.”
The proposal continues, “we should conscientiously implement core socialist values, avoid feudal superstition, conscientiously resist ‘pornography, gambling, and drugs,’ stamp out unhealthy trends, advocate healthy birth and upbringing, and promote good family practices.”
The first encouragement, to resist extravagance and waste, may come as a bit of surprise to those in the tourism industry as Sanya is a well-known wedding and honeymoon destination. The proposal states “be proud of thrift and ashamed of extravagance and waste.” Instructions included not to compete through the number and luxury of wedding cars, size of weddings and its various specifications. It spoke out against ‘sky-high’ marriage practices and instead promoted creating “healthy, progressive and good social habits.”
The proposal ended with a hope that many would adapt to these customs and be practitioners of civilized society to build a harmonious family. The proposal did not mention any current laws or regulations nor any plans to make the proposal law.
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[Cover image via Pixabay]
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