Thu, Feb 10, 2011
China Daily/Asia News Network
China: Praying for love at temple fairs

Temple fairs, which are traditionally held throughout the Spring Festival holidays, are fast becoming one of the hottest matchmaking spots in the capital. Singles and their parents are flocking to events throughout the capital in the hope of starting the lunar new year on a high note.

"I'm not picky," said a man surnamed Li at a matchmaking party in Shijingshan district's Beijing International Sculpture Park. "I'm just looking for someone who is considerate for my son."

Roughly 50,000 people have visited the park's square during the holidays for the love-match event, which runs until Feb 9, an organizer called Han. About 5,000 people had also posted their personal information on huge boards erected around the square, while others have taken the chance to exchange contact details with potential partners or to consult with on-site relationship experts.

Han said that more than 70 per cent of attendees are anxious parents looking to fix up children considered "to have left it late to start a family" by traditional Chinese standards.

Beijing's temple fairs have long been one of the most popular outdoor events during Spring Festival. Thanks to the mild winter weather, many this year are attracting record numbers.

Dongcheng district's Ditan Park, which has received on average more than 150,000 visitors every day, is also hosting a large, seven-day matchmaking party, charging young singles 50 yuan (S$9.68) and parents just 20 yuan. A spokesman for the event told METRO that numbers are increasing as the event draws to a close.

Parents unwilling to pay the entrance fee were also lined up on benches outside the park on Tuesday. Most were holding boards promoting their children to passersby.

"Single male, 1.75 meters tall, aged 33, doctorate, graduate from Chinese Academy of Sciences," read the sign next to a 58-year-old father who gave his name as Yang.

"My son is working very hard," he said. "Since I'm retired, I came here (for him). I'm not too shy to promote him. Compared with previous decades, the younger generation usually puts career first instead of starting a family. They are not anxious about marriage, but I am."

Wang Ge, 29, was one of the few young people who accompanied their parents. The white-collar worker, who said he is looking to find a serious relationship, was often surrounded by elderly people asking him questions about his age and what kind of girl he likes.

"I come under pressure every Spring Festival when relatives ask me about my girlfriend," said Wang in explaining the reason why he was at the matchmaking event. "There is only one week to go until Valentine's Day and I really don't want to be single for it again this year."

-- China Daily/Asia News Network

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