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Multiple Weddings Fatigue Migrant Newlyweds
When Dong Xiaobo decided to take the hand of his beloved in marriage this summer, he didn't expect to be kept constantly on the run with seemingly endless wedding ceremonies and banquets, which made the newlywed feels weary rather than happy about their bridal days.

The reason was simple: Dong, now working for an advertising company in Beijing, is a native of Lanzhou, capital of north China's Gansu Province, while his wife, also currently in Beijing, is anative of Anhui Province in east China.

Due to a heavy workload, both Dong and his wife seldom go back home. "But we are supposed to celebrate our wedding together with family and friends of both sides according to traditional Chinese custom," he said.

In Dong's case, the new couple had to host three wedding ceremonies -- one in Beijing with colleagues, one in Lanzhou with Dong's family and then one in Anhui with the bride's family -- to mark what the Chinese consider a "lifetime occasion".

Dong's marriage, however, seems easy when compared with the planned wedding of Wang Haifeng.

In Wang's case, he just quit his job in Lanzhou and moved to Shanghai, his wife is a native of east China's Zhejiang Province and his parents now live in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province.

It doesn't stop there. As Wang's parents are actually natives of east China's Shandong Province, he is also supposed to go there to share his joy with his grandparents.

"I asked for an entire month's leave from work, but find myself still facing a tightly packed schedule," said Wang.

"Migrators like us are not aware of how difficult it is to arrange such social occasions until actually at the point of marrying," said Wang's wife, who believed their actual social circle is limited to only a few colleagues and close friends.

Such headaches don't only plague the two couples. With rapid social and economic development, moving for work has become a trend in China, and especially since the 1980s and 1990s, more and more young people have managed to leave their homes to seek fortune in more promising big cities through higher education.

Those choosing to migrate are eager to escape the economic backwardness in their hometowns, are interested in the natural or human environment of their target places, or move simply out of business concerns.

Information from the public security bureau indicates that the number of migrants to big and medium-sized cities has been on the rise for the past decade.

Peng Dehua, a sociologist with the Northwest Normal University, pointed out that the urban drifting group, though their free lifestyle has become popular as a fashion, still cannot shun from the tradition of Chinese wedding ceremonies.

The key to this problem, he suggested, is a change of ideas. That is, couples need to marry out of their mutual commitment instead of for show and for people around them. Then they would be free to choose a happy and easy way to get married instead of being bound by tradition.

However, only after such an idea has been acknowledged by the general public can the freedom-yearning drifting group truly feel free about their love and weddings, according to Peng.

(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2003)

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