Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 1 week 5 days ago

In Phase 0, I narrowed down the large list of topics I could choose from to find my final inquiry project topic; love and marriage. Then, in Phase 1, I organized the knowledge I currently possess about this topic and what information I will need to gather for this project. In Phase 3, I will be researching love and marriage before and during the trip.

Background Information (from Phase 1):

I have a pretty good understanding of how love impacts marriage and marriage impacts society in America. In America, love plays a huge role in marriage most of the time. Marriage is usually ones own choice, whether it be for benefits such as tax reductions or the want to build a life with someone they love. In Phase 1, I found that my main questions about this topic all fell under one big question; how, currently, does marriage in XIzhou differ from traditional Chinese marriage and marriage in America? To answer this big question of mine so I can find a direction for my research, I wanted to learn about how marriage partners are chosen and the wedding traditions currently in Xizhou, traditionally in China, and in America.

I learned from Risa Y's[1]  final project that, in 1950-1966, men were only required around 360 RMB to marry someone. During this time, the wedding clothes were very traditional. For example, the bride would have to wear a mirror on her dress when she went into the groom's house to repel evil. Then, during the cultural revolution in 1966-1976, marriages became more simple. Marriages were because of compatibility, and the wife would pack up her things and move in with the groom, without the traditional ceremonies. From 1979 to the present, the ideology surrounding marriage has changed drastically. Now, some people focus more on their careers then their love lives, leading to them not get married all together.

Because of the decline in people wanting to get married, proposals and "bride prices" have become more over the top [4]. There are also modern day matchmakers called love hunters and places called marriage markets where parents can go to find possible partners for their kids [2], but as arranged marriage has been illegal since the 1950s[3], parents can no longer choose who their kid marries. Even though the ideologies surrounding marriage have changed a lot, there is still a lot of stigma around being a female over 25 and single [5]. In China, there is a derogatory term that people call these women. 剩女, shèng nǚ, or leftover women is used by family, friends, and other people to describe single women past 25.

For the Bai ethnic minority, love and marriage has always had a lot of traditions and customs. Family was very important to the Bai minority people, so families would very rarely arrange marriages with other families too far away. All marriages were arranged, showing that love was not a determining factor in marriage for the Bai minority people. A wife's purpose was to bear children and keep house. It was customary for the groom to pay the bride's family around 50 to 100 silver dollars, the amount varying based on the bride's level of education. On the wedding day, a lucky day decided on by both families, the bride would ride in a sedan chair with red paper, rosettes, and streamers to the groom's house. Once married, the wife had very little independence. Because the bride always moved in with the groom and his family, she would be controlled by her mother or sister in law [6].

Information from 3-to-5's:

Information From Local Contacts:

Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1):


  1.  Y_, Risa. Inquiry Project: Marriages in Xizhou, Accessed January 25, 2018 

  2. The Price of Marriage in China, The New York Times. Accessed January 25, 2018

  3. China's marriage rate is plummeting - and it's because of gender equality, The Huffington Post. accessed January 27, 2018

  4. Big in China: Over-the-top Marriage Proposals, the Atlantic. Accessed February 1, 2018

  5. SK-II: Marriage Market Takeover, SK-II. Acessed February 1, 2018

  6. The Tower of Five Glories, Charles Patrick Fitzgerald 


I am thirteen years old and have been living in Shanghai for five years. I love music, poetry, and art. In my free time, I write, make music, play soccer, and talk to my friends. I can't wait to go to Xizhou and learn more about the interesting, unique culture there!