Family members await the start of the wedding in a village in Zouping county Brian Dawkins Eagles Jersey , Shandong Province. Photo: CFP
Bride prices, a traditional prerequisite for marriage, are increasingly becoming a miserable burden for families in rural areas across China as it has spiked sharply in recent years. Young men go to cities to work hoping they could improve their family's life, but they often come back to find that what they have earned is insufficient for them to get a wife.


Most parents in China would be happy to find out that their son has found a girl to marry. But Huang, a mother in her 40s from Central China's Henan Province is unable to relax, despite the good news. When her eldest son came back from Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province for Spring Festival and was introduced to a girl by a relative, she knew that this was just the first step.


Though Huang's family has already offered the girl around 20 Zach Ertz Eagles Jersey ,000 yuan ($3,072) in gifts, she is still free to go on more blind dates. Traditionally, the only way for Huang to guarantee she'll marry her son is to offer her family a substantial sum of money as a bride price to seal the engagement. But Huang doesn't have that kind of cash to hand.


A typical bride price in Xincai county, which has been designated by the central government as an impoverished area, has risen sharply in recent years, from 66,000 yuan around five years ago to more than 100 Jake Elliott Eagles Jersey ,000 yuan now, greatly outpacing growth in local incomes. As on average each family makes just a few thousand yuan every year from farming, it can take a family many years to save up enough money for a bride price.


"The girl looks nice, so I guess the price will not be low," Huang said. "Though it will be hard, we will try every means to get the money, as long as she agrees to marry."


"Every means" will entail borrowing money, yet again. A mother of two sons Alshon Jeffery Eagles Jersey , Huang and her husband make a living by collecting recyclable materials in Guangzhou. To help her eldest son find a wife, they spent all their savings and borrowed money from relatives to buy an apartment in town two years ago.


Now that the apartment attracted a girl, it's time for them to worry about cash for her bride price and a decent wedding.


Not a penny left


Many rural parents across China share Huang's anxiety. Finding a wife for their son could cost them all their savings and drive them into debt. It's long been the case that bride prices and other pre-marital expenses like buying a car and house are increasingly becoming a crushing burden for families with sons.


A video that went viral online recently revealed that in Dangshan county, Anhui Province, a bridegroom-to-be needs to offer his fiancée 10,000 5-yuan notes, 1,000 100-yuan notes and a bunch of 50-yuan notes in addition to his family's other expenses.


Li Hong (pseudonym) from Xincai county is desperate to see his son get married. The construction worker spent all of his savings to build a two-storey house last year Nelson Agholor Eagles Jersey , a basic requirement for getting a wife in the county. After spending more than 200,000 yuan on the house, half of which was borrowed, he doesn't have a penny left to decorate it.


During Spring Festival he sent his son on blind dates, but is pessimistic about the boy's chances. "Even if a girl agrees, I've no idea where to get the 100,000 yuan bride price,"Li Hong said Jay Ajayi Eagles Jersey , adding that he still hasn't repaid his debts.


Xu, a 66-year-old local in Xincai county, said that "getting a daughter-in-law could leave a family broke."


A farmer, Xu used to work in the county seat and knows a lot of people in the county, so sometimes he serves as a matchmaker. According to him, people living in the town don't care much about bride prices, but countryside people still attach great value to them.


A prerequisite for marriage, the bride price Carson Wentz Eagles Jersey , a tradition that can be traced back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-711BC), remains a common custom in most rural areas across China.


"You cannot get a wife without spending more than 500,000 yuan," Xu told the Global Times.


As Xu explains, a family with a son must have a house, built in the countryside or bought in the town. After that, there is the matter of the bride price and the "three gold objects" - gold rings, a gold necklace and gold earrings - and a multitude of other pricey necessities.


"Most need to borrow to get a wife Women's Brian Dawkins Jersey ," Xu said, "if an ordinary family has two or more sons, without even asking you know that they must be heavily in debt."


To Li Hongxiang, an expert in marriage law, it is definitely "abnormal." He added that the bride price and cost of marriage are now out of proportion with rural people's incomes."


Market rate


Bride prices used to be regarded as a manifestation of mercenary marriage and China's Marriage Law clearly prohibits "using marriage to demand money." But in recent years, these have grown sky-high in many rural parts of the country, including Gansu, Henan Women's Zach Ertz Jersey , Shandong, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces.


"You can not pay the bride price, but don't expect to take a wife. There are many others who are willing to pay it," said Yang, a Xincai county local.


Many criticize families with daughters as greedy. There are indeed many cases of families breaking up couples after failing to get a sufficient bride price.


Yang said that while there are parents who want to make a fortune from their daughters, most simply follow the convention and the "market" everyone is a part of. The size of the bride price reflects the value of one's daughter, she added.


"If your daughter gets married without a bride price or with a price smaller than others', people might suspect something is wrong with your daughter and you will feel disgraced Women's Jake Elliott Jersey ," Yang said.


Her daughter married two years ago and collected an average bride price, though Yang later returned the money to her son-in-law's fa



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