If you’ve read my “One Day in Shanghai itinerary“, you’ll know that Shanghai Marriage Market is a place I always try to visit whenever I’m in Shanghai, China – and also after I’ve had a good dose of Jia Jia Tang Bao & Yang’s Dumplings!
The marriage market usually consists of parents coming to People’s Square/People’s Park (人民广场) with a printed sheet/written up document of their child’s qualities and achievements, in order to highlight and attract prospective halves for their child (via potential in-laws).
With much of today’s generation more focused on developing their careers, gaining more independence to financially support themselves; there is less need to marry and establish a family, thus worrying many older generations that they will not continue the family name on, or have a good family to grow with.
Although one on hand it’s very interesting seeing or being within such a space, (and also that I can read the Chinese profiles), there’s a sense of genuine yearning from the parents. If you walk too closely to their ads (which are paper “resumes” on the umbrellas), the parents either think you’re a potentially interested candidate and are led to disappointment, or sometimes there’s also a sense of defensiveness from some parents too (because they’re protective of their children and want genuine interest).
Typically the pieces of paper will list their son/daughter’s year of birth, height, academic history, industry they work in / job, what kind of personality characteristics they have, and sometimes whether or not they have an apartment/house (and how many bedrooms/bathrooms etc). Some even will list what foreign nationality they have.
They’ll also some requirements about what they DON’T want. For example, certain characteristics, or maybe even if they’ve divorced. What’s interesting is that a lot of the time, the daughters & sons are not aware their parents have done this, as it is truly the parents being a bit anxious about their child’s love/family affairs. The types of profiles here really have a wide range, and some “stalls” set up here too also are “agency” staff, who have a booklet for you to flip through too.
If you do get the chance to explore Shanghai Marriage Market, please do bear in mind that not all parents/elderly might be open to you viewing their child’s profile (possible invasion of privacy/feeling a bit disrespected), so sometimes you might just have to glance from a bit of distance.
Shanghai Marriage Market
People’s Square / People’s Park
Metro Line 2 – exit 9, come up then turn left – (CHI) 人民广场地铁站 – 出口9号
Usually open only on weekends during the day.
For other activities to explore, check out these suggestions!