The Chinese are increasingly reluctant to attend wedding banquets during the holiday season because they cost a bomb due to the need for gifts, reported the China Daily Sunday.
Ruan Yuan, who has five weddings to attend during China’s eight-day Golden Week holiday period, told the daily that half of her monthly salary would be spent on buying wedding gifts, resulting in a drastic cut in her vacation budget.
China’s festive Golden Week, held from September 30 to October 7 this year, is a popular season to hold wedding celebrations as the Chinese believe that holding wedding banquets during the holidays will bring them more luck.
However the financial burden of buying gifts for weddings, added to other expenses related to the longer holidays, is proving problematic for many.
In the 1950s, the Chinese would often celebrate wedding banquets with simple gifts, including chicken eggs, mirrors or a simple meal. However this changed in the early 1980s when people started to give cash gifts at weddings, according to Professor Tan Fang at South China Normal University. After the 1990s, material gifts became unpopular as wedding presents and were almost completely replaced by cash.
These days in China, attending a wedding means forking out between 200 to 500 yuan ($30-80) in cash as gifts, depending on the city the banquet is held in.
According to a household finance survey conducted by the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance, the average annual expenditure on gifts for weddings and other special occasions in 2010 was 2,642 yuan ($417) for each urban household and 2,228 yuan ($352) for rural households. The annual per capita disposable income of urban residents was 19,109 yuan ($3021) in 2010, while that of rural residents was 5,919 yuan ($935).