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China Memes & Viral

Wedding Canceled over Too-Tight Underwear: Chinese Local Wedding Tradition Goes Trending

Chinese local traditions still matter. A size too small was the end of this Guizhou wedding day.

Manya Koetse

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A wedding in Guizhou was canceled after the bride discovered the underwear bought for her as part of a local wedding tradition was too small. The incident has sparked discussions on old-fashioned customs in modern-day weddings.

There is so much happening in the world right now, but besides the bigger issues, a local Chinese wedding scandal has been attracting major attention on social media over the past few days.

On January 2nd, a young man from Zunyi in Guizhou province had his own wedding day canceled by his prospective in-laws because the underwear that was bought for his bride turned out to be too small.

According to local customs, the groom’s side was supposed to buy the bride a new outfit from top to bottom, including shoes (a custom called shàngtoulǐ “上头礼”). But because the undergarment purchased by the groom was too tight, the wedding ceremony was called off at the very last moment.

Not wanting to waste the expensive food and arrangements, the groom’s relatives decided to turn the wedding reception into a New Year’s party instead.

A video that has been circulating on Weibo, also reposted by Xinhua News, shows how the wedding reception host explains to the guests why the wedding ceremony cannot proceed, proposing to continue the festivities anyway as a casual New Year’s social gathering.

The incident received massive attention on social media, with one hashtag about the news garnering over 740 million views (#小伙因买内衣不合适迎亲被拒#). On Q&A site Zhihu.com, one thread about the issue received over 4200 replies.

 

Size does matter

 

Although there are many commenters who say the bride “made a big fuss over nothing”, there are also those who think bad communication and outdated customs and beliefs are at the root of the canceled wedding.

Many people on social media also express their surprise at the different local wedding traditions within China, which can greatly vary from region to region.

The too-tight underwear case is about more than just being a size too small. The Chinese idiom “wear tight shoes” (chuān xiǎoxié ‘穿小鞋’) means “to make life difficult.” Giving someone tight shoes to wear (给人穿小鞋) means making things hard for someone by abusing one’s power.

In this case, although it is about the groom’s side giving the bride too-tight underwear instead of shoes, the bride’s side allegedly took it as a sign that the groom wanted to teach his future wife a lesson that he would not make life easy for her and would want her to be obedient.

The bride later spoke to Red Star News (红星新闻) to clarify that things were not as simple as presented in the viral news story. The fact that the underwear that was bought for her was too tight – the bra was two sizes too small – was indeed a problem, but it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The couple had conflicts before this occurred, and when the bride wanted to discuss the problem of the tight underwear, she was met with an unpleasant response from the groom’s side, as they refused to buy her suitable underwear.

She also said that after the wedding was canceled the bride price of 88,000 yuan ($13,650) was returned to the groom’s family.

The couple had previously already officially registered for marriage. The two are now filing for divorce.

 

“A struggle between modern society and feudal rubbish”

 

On WeChat, popular blogging account Xinwenge also posted about this matter, suggesting it was actually the groom’s mother who bought the tight underwear.

Xinwenge quotes some netizens from Guizhou who allege that in-laws often buy clothes or shoes for their future daughter-in-law to show the bride their own dominant position. “It’s a struggle between modern society and feudal rubbish,” the author writes.

Other netizens also share their own stories, such as the experience of ‘King Cat Wants To Travel’, who says that her mother-in-law was never involved in the planning of her wedding until she absolutely insisted on making the bed on the night before the wedding.

“I found out why on our wedding day,” she writes: “She put the duvet from their family on top of mine”, implying the husband’s side would be ‘on top’ in the marriage. She adds: “PS: we’re now divorced.”

Another local custom mentioned is that of the bride having to wait outside the house, not being able to go in until someone from her new husband’s family tells her to – allegedly in order to make the bride a more obedient wife afterward.

One Weibo user commented that local traditions and customs are getting in the way of the true meaning of marriage. Regardless of what the groom’s parents say, what the bride’s parents do, what the bride price is, how the guests behave, “do these two people who are getting married actually feel good about it? Do they approve of each other’s values and ideas about life? Do they feel they’re suitable to spend their lives together?”

“If this is a modern-day wedding, why should the bride still be expected to wear the underwear bought for her by her mother-in-law?” another person writes.

“It’s 2021. You’re not getting married over customs, nor over underwear,” another person says.

But not everyone agrees, with some still valuing the power of tradition: “Buying her small underwear means making her life difficult. It’s impossible that they did not know this. It’s good that they didn’t marry.”

By Manya Koetse, with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the founder and editor-in-chief of whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer, public speaker, and researcher (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends, digital developments, and new media in an ever-changing China, with a focus on Chinese society, pop culture, and gender issues. She shares her love for hotpot on hotpotambassador.com. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Memes & Viral

The Impossible Love Story: Nancy Pelosi and Hu Xijin Become Popular Imaginary Couple

When Pelosi met Hu – imagining love in times of U.S.-China escalation risk.

Manya Koetse

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While everybody is watching whether or not Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan (with all recent indications suggesting that she will make a stop on the island), there is still time for some online banter amid growing tensions: Chinese netizens have created a fantasy love affair between U.S. House speaker Pelosi and Chinese Global Times commentator Hu Xijin.

On July 31st, Hu posted an old military photo of himself on Weibo to pay tribute to the active military for August 1st, the annual People’s Liberation Army (PLA) day. “We depend on you to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity and protect the interests of China’s peaceful development,” Hu wrote.

Hu Xijin has been making international headlines this week for his strong condemnation of a potential visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Hu suggested that a Taiwan visit by Pelosi would be a clear provocation of China, giving the PLA “good reason” for “waging a war.”

One of Hu’s tweets, in which he voiced the view that U.S. military planes escorting Pelosi to Taiwan could potentially be shot down, was deleted by Twitter on July 30.

Hu Xijin tweet which was deleted by Twitter on July 30.

Hu is an influential Chinese commentator and journalist, who is mostly known for being the former editor-in-chief of the nationalist state media outlet Global Times and his Hu Says political commentary videos on social media. He is also known for his ‘Wold Warrior’-style brash and bold statements, often echoing the Communist Party line.

At this time of great U.S.-China tensions in light of Pelosi’s potential Taiwan trip, there perhaps could not have been a more unimaginable couple than the American Pelosi (aka “Old Witch” 老妖婆) and Chinese Hu (aka “Old Hu” 老胡), yet the moment a netizen photoshopped an ‘old’ wedding photo showing a much younger Nancy Pelosi and Hu Xijin, it immediately went viral.

“The handsome and the beautiful, it’s a good match,” some commenters said, with others calling it a “classic” and a “fine match” between a “talented man and a beautiful woman” (郎才女貌 láng cái nǚ mào).

Others thought “it was not a good deal for Hu,” since Pelosi is twenty years older than him.

“No wonder he always climbs over the wall,” another Weibo user jokingly said.

The practice of imagining a relationship between two famous people or fictional characters, often using photoshop and fan art, is also known as ‘CP,’ an abbreviation for “coupling” or “character pairing.”

Although many netizens seemed to appreciate this CP joke, Chinese blogger ‘Chairman Rabbit’ (兔主席) did not approve of it, writing that the country is facing a serious situation and that this is not an appropriate time to joke around.

Hu Xijin himself, however, did not seem to mind. When someone sent him the ‘wedding photo’ of himself and Pelosi, he responded with three thumbs up.

Also read our latest article on Chinese online views on Pelosi’s potential Taiwan visit here.

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

 

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China Arts & Entertainment

Viral Bilibili Video Featuring Rural Carpenter: Disabled & Determined ‘Uncle’ Becomes Chinese Internet Sensation

Yige Caixiang’s touching portrait of his disabled Uncle shows that it’s not about the cards you’re dealt but about how you play them.

Manya Koetse

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Chinese vlogger Yige Caixiang (衣戈猜想) posted a short film on Bilibili about his disabled uncle living in a poor rural area in China. This portrait of his resilient and resourceful ‘Uncle’ has touched the hearts of many netizens, and went viral overnight.

A video that was posted on the Chinese video platform Bilibili on Monday, July 25, has gone viral on social media for the inspiring story it tells about a resilient villager who became disabled as a teenager. The video was uploaded by vlogger ‘Yige Caixiang’ (@衣戈猜想) and received over ten million views in a day, becoming the number one video on the Bilibili platform.

“This is my uncle,” the vlogger can be heard saying at the start of the 11:30-minute video, titled “How Uncle Cured My Mental Friction after Being Back in the Village for Three Days” (回村三天,二舅治好了我的精神内耗), introducing his old uncle and grandma standing in front of their home “built at a time when the U.S. didn’t even exist yet.”

While showing footage of family and village life, Yige Caixiang tells about his uncle through a voice-over, recording his own trip to his family’s village by detailing the life of his mother’s brother.

His uncle used to be the brightest kid in school, he tells, always getting top grades. One day, as a teenager, he got sick with a high fever. A doctor in a neighboring village ‘treated’ Uncle with various injections in his backside, after which Uncle could no longer use his leg and ended up being permanently disabled. Feeling depressed and hopeless, he did not return to school and spent weeks lying in bed. The village teachers were unable to convince him to come back to class.

After three years, Uncle stepped outside of the home courtyard for the first time with his crutches. He was inspired to become a carpenter after seeing one at work in the family courtyard, and so he also started doing the same work, and was able to make a living by going around and doing carpentry jobs for villagers. Never formally diagnosed, he was unable to get a disability certificate.

Wanting to visit Tiananmen Square’s Mao memorial hall, Uncle traveled to Beijing one time and ended up staying with a cousin who worked in the military, doing carpentry work for the soldiers, with whom he soon became friends. A military chief even rubbed his back in the public bath house (“people in Beijing are good at rubbing backs,” he’d later say).

But Uncle eventually returned to his village, and was able to attend his sisters’ wedding send-offs and gave them complete furniture sets personally made by him – a rare possession to have for a young rural bride in the 1980s.

Uncle made complete furniture sets.

Besides taking care of his sisters, Uncle also took care of an abandoned village girl named Ning Ning, whom he adopted. By the time she got married, he was able to help the young couple with the down-payment for their new family home, for which he invested half of his life savings.

 
“It is only when they are near the end of their lives that people come to realize that the biggest regret in life is always regretting the past.”
 

When Uncle was in his thirties, he became acquainted with a married lady from a nearby village. Although she had a husband and two daughters, she spent a lot of time with Uncle and even cooked and cleaned for him. Treating her as if she was his own wife, he handed over his weekly pay to her and was happy to have a bowl of rice and a warm house waiting for him after a hard day of work.

But as time went on, she never divorced her husband and other family members started seeing her as an intruder who was just out for his money to support her own family. The young Ning Ning even called her an “old fox.”

The ending of this peculiar love story remains somewhat of a mystery up to this day, Yige Caixiang says. The woman and her husband passed away in a shed due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Uncle never spoke of it again and also never married another woman.

As the decades passed, Uncle took care of his aging mother while still doing carpentry work, often taking him with her around the area. Years before, he once encountered the doctor who tried to ‘cure’ him. If this had happened now, the doctor had said, I would’ve been sued and lost lots of money. But that never would have happened at that time, and it never happened later either.

Grandmother, at 88, is now struggling with her health and does not have the energy to go on living anymore. “In aging and sickness we find a necessary exercise between life and death,” the vlogger reflects (“老病是生死之间的必要演习”), suggesting that the pain of growing old also makes it easier to be at peace when having to part with life.

By now, taking care of his old mother has become a full-time job for Uncle, who cooks for her and washes her face in the morning and bathes her feet at night. Besides that, he is also more than just a carpenter; he is the village handyman, repairing electronic devices, door locks, radios, stoves, and even fixing broken toys of the neighborhood children. When it is necessary, he can be an acupuncturist and a painter, too.

Whenever there is a problem, Uncle will find a way to solve it. There’s just three things he can’t repair, Yige Caixang says: smartphones, cars, and computers – because Uncle never owned any. Although the villagers sometimes jokingly call Uncle “crooked” because of his leg and crutches, they all know how much they care for him and how much the entire village depends on him.

In the final part of the 11-minute video, Yige Caixiang reflects on what life might have looked like for his Uncle if he had not received those injections in the 1970s. He probably would have taken the national exams, would have gone to study at university, and maybe would have become an engineer with a good income and secure financial future. But Uncle does not want to think like that. Refusing to look back, he is happy with his life in the village.

It is only when they are near the end of their lives that people come to realize that the biggest regret in life is always regretting the past, Yige Caixiang says. The main thing that matters in life is not the cards you were dealt, but how you play them. Uncle was dealt a bad card, but played it beautifully through his continuous self-improvement and perseverance.

In an old notebook underneath Uncle’s bed, a line of text scribbled on the first page shows a Mao Zedong quote: “Be determined, fear no sacrifice, and surmount every difficulty to win victory” (“下定决心,不怕牺牲,排除万难,去争取胜利”).

 
“Let Uncle quietly live together with grandma in the small mountain village – that is the most beautiful ending this story could have.”
 

A day after it was posted, the resilient Uncle is a much-discussed topic on Chinese social media. The overall tone and setting of the video is so spirit-lifting and humbling, that it is not surprising for both netizens and state media outlets to jump on it, just as they did before with stories shared by Ding Zhen, Fan Yusu, or Zhong Jitao.

One hashtag for the short film – “How Uncle Cured My Mental Friction after Being Back in the Village for Three Days” #二舅治好了我的精神内耗# – received a staggering 630 million clicks by Tuesday. The hashtag “Why Did Uncle Blow Up Like That” (#二舅为什么突然火了#) received over 140 million views on Weibo.

The vlogger who made and posted the video is mostly known by his social media handle, Yige Caixiang (衣戈猜想). The maker himself did not release his own real name nor that of his Uncle. The vlogger apparently used to be an instructor, as multiple netizens claim that he was their previous history teacher.

Yige Caixiang is not a Bilibili newcomer. As a creator, he previously uploaded over thirty videos. They are mostly related to popular science and none of them have blown up like this one has.

After the video flooded the internet, Yige Caixiang responded to the hype on Tuesday and posted the following on Weibo:

“Hi Weibo friends, many of you messaged me after seeing Uncle’s video, suggesting I’d let him go livestream on a big streaming site. Thanks to everyone for caring, but now that Uncle is getting some online attention, you want to persuade him to livestream to do what? Repeating his suffering like Xianglin’s Wife (t/n: this is a reference to an old woman in one of Lu Xun’s famous stories), then playing games with a bunch of people who don’t know anything, kneeling and begging them for support, and then suddenly starting to talk them into buying tissue paper? Uncle seriously lived half of his life already, I shared his story now, you heard it and it touched you, this makes a beautiful little story, and it should have a beautiful ending. Didn’t we see enough beautiful stories with a rotten ending over the past few years? Let Uncle quietly live together with grandma in the small mountain village – that is the most beautiful ending this story could have.”

Addressing rumors that the video was not authentic, Yige Caixiang said about the video that “every single word is true” and that none of the details surrounding Uncle’s life had been edited or altered in any way.

The video speaks to netizens for different reasons. Many are inspired due to the life lessons it contains regarding perseverance and not looking back on the things that might have been different. Others praise how Uncle was still able to save so much money for his daughter’s down-payment on her new home despite struggling himself. Many just applaud Uncle’s unparalleled strength despite their disability. Others appreciate the perspective the video gives on Chinese rural life.

There are also those who are concerned about enthusiastic netizens visiting Uncle in his sleepy hometown. Let’s hope the creator’s wish to let Uncle and his grandmother continue their quiet life together is the happy ending this viral story will get.

To view the video (no subtitles yet), state media outlet China Daily posted it to YouTube on Tuesday (embedded below):

By Manya Koetse
With contributions by Miranda Barnes

 

Get the story behind the hashtag. Subscribe to What’s on Weibo here to receive our weekly newsletter and get access to our latest articles:

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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