For Xi Anjie, an office worker in Shanghai, the Spring Festival holiday is a psychological torture.
At the age of 35, Xi is still single, which is really a "big headache" for his parents and relatives, who have been pressing him to find a girlfriend and to bring her home for the Spring Festival.
He chose to stay at home after a brief celebration with his parents for this week-long holiday which ended on Saturday, unwilling to visit his relatives who have been enthusiastic in matchmaking.
Xi is not alone. On the Xici.net, a well-known Chinese website, more than 100 "lonely hearts ad" posters have been published online since the first day of the Lunar New Year. Most of the marriage seekers are ladies aged between 24 and 30.
Shen Sisi, 29, a company employee in east China's Jiangsu Province, said she felt herself an "outsider" among her friends, most of whom are married and often talk about marriage and children at Spring Festival parties.
The deep-rooted Chinese tradition of getting married "at the right age" seems inappropriate nowadays as more and more young people choose to stay single.
Last month, a Beijing University student was offering a 1,000 yuan (US$125) for ten days of renting a girlfriend to be taken home during the Spring Festival holiday to please his parents.
Wang Jisheng, a professor with the Psychology Institution of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the student is trying to show filial piety to his parents but he is in fact only cheating them.
(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2007)