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China Daily Website


The Chinese "naked marriage"

Updated: 2011-09-08 07:00
By Feng Xin (chinadaily.com.cn)

China's National Holiday is often described as "Golden September, silver October". It's also a popular season for Chinese couples to tie the knot.

Nearly 12.5 million Chinese couples got married in 2010, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. That's 2 percent more than in 2009.

Meanwhile, the cost of a wedding is increasing. The Shanghai Wedding Expo reported that in 2011 Shanghai couples are spending on average more than 120,000 yuan ($18,460) on their wedding. The cost includes a ceremony, honeymoon and dinner party, among other expenses. However, it does not include buying houses and cars, which the Chinese traditionally consider necessary for building a family.

While some spend tens of thousands of yuan to get married, others choose to spend only 9 yuan ($1.5) – all that's needed to get a marriage certificate. That trend is known among younger Chinese as "naked marriage" – getting married without buying houses and cars or even holding a ceremony.

These young couples who choose naked marriage can not afford houses and cars, as they are facing a high price index in China. But if we look back many years, that is nothing new. Chinese people from older generations typically got married without owning property. But why wasn't naked marriage called "naked" back then? How is the young generations' marriage different from the older ones'? What's the essence of marriage?

Digest China invites three couples who got married in different eras to tell their naked marriage stories.

The Chinese