xi's moments
Home | Op-Ed Contributors

To visit, or not to visit, parents during festival

By Yao Yuxin | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-23 07:25

Shi Yu/China Daily

Editor's Note: Many Chinese couples, especially those who are the only child of their respective parents, often have arguments over whose parents they should visit during the Spring Festival holiday. How should these couples resolve this issue? Two experts share their views with China Daily's Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Couples have many ways to fulfill their filial duty

Toward the end of every lunar year, the same question troubles many couples: whether they should visit the wife's parents or the husband's during Spring Festival.

It is not easy for any couple to resolve this thorny issue. Media reports say that many couples, especially relatively young couples, fail to agree on the issue and some even choose to file for divorce following arguments.

Aged parents, particularly those who have just one child, love to celebrate Spring Festival with their children, because it is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese people. Therefore, it is important that couples amicably resolve the issue of whose parents they should visit during Spring Festival.

For example, they could choose to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their respective parents every alternate year. What is most important is that the couples should have mutual understanding and mutual respect and show equal consideration for each other's parents.

The couples could also decide their destination based on whose parents would benefit most, emotionally and spiritually, from their presence.

For instance, if a parent's birthday is close to Spring Festival or if a parent suddenly falls sick, couples would do well to change the original schedule and, instead, visit the parent who needs their help most.

Besides, the couples could make time during the rest of the year to visit the other set of parents, in order to show their filial piety. But most importantly, adult children should take genuine care of their aged parents, both financially and spiritually.

Li Jianxin, a professor at the Institute of Sociology and Anthropology of Peking University

Other ways to celebrate Spring Festival amicably

The dispute over whether a couple should visit the wife's or the husband's parents during Spring Festival could get serious. Yet the issue could be easily resolved if a couple live near both sets of parents' homes. In such a case, the couple could celebrate Lunar New Year Eve at the home of the husband's parents, for example, and rush to the home of the wife's parents to spend the first day of the Lunar New Year.

But since some of the couples are settled far away from their parents' homes, it is not logistically possible for them to visit the homes of both sets of parents during Spring Festival. Some couples have found a way out of this dilemma by deciding to visit their respective parents every alternate year to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The root of the problem could be traced to the now scrapped one-child policy. Most of the parents who have just one child wait for an entire year to celebrate Spring Festival with their offspring. Hence, many married women are desperate to spend the Spring Festival holiday with their parents, with their husbands equally desperate to do so with theirs.

It is critical for such couples to resolve their differences with a cool mind. Such couples should discuss whose parents would benefit most with their visit, and should be flexible enough to change their schedule according to the changing situations.

Moreover, the couples could also invite both sets of parents to their home, or organize a tour with them to spend Spring Festival together. As long as the couples are determined to resolve their dispute amicably, they can celebrate Spring Festival with either or both sets of parents.

Luo Huiwen, a professor of marriage studies in China Women's University

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349