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Couples have rushed to get married over China’s national day holiday in the first wedding season since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Months of delayed nuptial celebrations were crowded into the “golden week” holiday, traditionally a popular time for weddings, that ended on Wednesday as hotels, banquet halls and other wedding venues were booked out.
Officials have hailed the holiday that saw 1.4 billion people moving across the country in a bout of so-called “revenge travel” as a sign of effective measures against the virus and the beginning of a consumer-led economic recovery. According to the ministry of culture and tourism, people spent about 466bn yuan ($69.5bn).
In Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December, 99 couples, many of them frontline medical workers, were wed in a mass outdoor ceremony. The naval airforce of the eastern theatre, based in Ningbo, also held a group wedding of 15 couples.
The wedding services platform Hunliji said it had registered more than 600,000 couples getting married over the eight-day public holiday that ended on Wednesday, 11% more than the site recorded in the same period last year.
Some on social media forums however complained about the expense of attending so many weddings, rushing from banquet to banquet over the eight-day holiday. The story of a man in Bijie in Guizhou province who said he had 23 weddings to attend and would likely spend a month’s wages on gifts and other expenses was discussed widely, with some commentators writing under the hashtag “return to poverty because of a wedding”.
State media have reported on news articles from CNN and other foreign outlets describing China as “hitting its stride again”. In an article in response to those complaining about the number of weddings, one commentator wrote: “This is the result of China’s victory over the pandemic. If the situation had not been controlled there would be no such busy scenes.”
Cinemas also reported a busy week as reopened theatres saw 3.92bn yuan ($580m) in ticket sales for the eight day holiday, with patriotic films like My People, an anthology that was one of the first productions to resume filming after virus measures began to be lifted.
Authorities are trying to balance economic recovery with preventing new outbreaks. The economy is slated to expand by 1.5% to 2.5% for the year, while analysts believe the global economy will contract by more than 4%.
On Tuesday, China saw its first locally transmitted infections since mid-August as officials reported six new cases, all in the eastern province of Shandong. The coastal city of Qingdao, also in Shandong, has begun testing all of its nine million residents after a cluster of 12 cases was reported on Monday.
While its economy is faring better than other countries, analysts say the recovery is still uneven across China. The US-based research group China Beige Book surveyed 3,300 businesses between 13 August and 12 September and found that most firms in regions outside of the main cities were experiencing a “muted recovery”.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: ‘Golden week’: wedding season boom in China with 600,000 couples tying knot | China