Walking through the market, there are heated discussions about the young adults and whether or not they might have a match made in heaven. There are actual matchmakers, paid to broker deals for families. They charge a monthly fee to hang a poster for the family and tacitly try to promote those who pay them. Then there are individuals who go out each weekend, hoping to find a husband or wife for their children. Sometimes blind dates are arranged. Infrequently the children acquiesce and go on a date, just to get their parents (or aunts, uncles, grandparents) off their backs.
The market is mostly a social gathering, an excuse for the elder generation to come together and schmooze. Granted, there are some serious parents out there with notebook and pen in hand, taking notes and contact information. However, the incidence of actual marriages that come from these informal discussions and information trades is quite low. The market mostly serves to help parents feel like they are playing a role in their own future; one of the Chinese goals in life is to see one's child married and to have grandchildren.
Join me at the Shanghai Marriage Market in People's Park on the next Chow Fun Tour!