In Chinese culture, marriages have often been a means of enhancing the social and financial standing of the partners involved rather than a relationship based on love and mutual attraction. In addition, the male dominant nature of the society provided men a greater right and say in matrimonial alliances over the Chinese girls they intended to marry. It was also quite common for men of means to have several mistresses, who were known as concubines, even though the right of being called a wife was reserved only for the first woman he married.
Most often Chinese girls had little say in anything related to their marriage and it was also not unusual for poor parents to sell off their daughters to the first affluent man who showed interest in her. However, there were still some parents who gave preference to the happiness of their daughter and her well-being over money and power. According to ancient Chinese traditions, the proposal for marriage had to be initiated by the groom or his family and once the formal letter of proposal was signed by the bride’s family, they could not go back on the engagement. In most cases, the girls did not even know their future husbands by face until the wedding day. The tradition of arranging marriages between unborn children by parents was also quite common, in case both the sets of parents were in agreement for the same.
Another important tradition associated with the marriage of Chinese girls, was that of astrologically checking their compatibility with their future husband. This procedure was carried out by the groom’s family and the marriage was immediately called off if the couple was deemed incompatible by the astrologer. In most such cases, the girl was blamed to be the bearer of bad luck and hence unsuitable for marriage. This made her sort of an outcast in the society for no fault of hers and such girls often ended up as the mistresses of the rich and affluent men in the society.
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Chinese Girls And Their Role In Ancient Marriage Traditions