China: ‘Outdated’ wedding ritual makes bride sit barefoot on flat basket for 5 hours
A public outcry has erupted in China after a bride, as part of a special pre-wedding ritual, was made to sit barefoot on a flat basket for five hours dressed in traditional wedding attire by the bridegroom’s family, to hone her good temper. A video of the ritual has been denounced as an outdated and sexist custom that insults women.
During the ritual to keep a virgin bride pure, the woman “couldn’t walk away or touch the floor with her feet,” said Lai, who took the video. It’s a common local pre-wedding ritual, Lai added but admitted that the length of the ritual varies from a few minutes to several hours. The duration depends on the matching status of the couple’s birth times as calculated by fortune-tellers.
The bride could drink water and play with her mobile phone, Lai mentioned. “The only request was her feet cannot touch the floor.”
While the ‘feudal slave’ custom is pretty detailed as to what the bride must do, the groom is not required to do anything. If the custom is not observed and the bride’s feet touch the floor before the wedding ceremony, as per the belief, her virginity will lose its good fortune and bring bad luck to her husband’s family.
“This is exploitation and slavery, not marriage,” an angry social media user said. “[This] ritual reminds me of the modern PUA in China,” said another angry observer, linking it to pickup artists. Many netizens expressed sympathy, while some revealed confusion about why the bride had gone along with the ‘outdated’ ritual.
These days, several traditional Chinese-style weddings require the groom or the bride’s brothers to carry her on their backs in order to keep her feet off the floor. In some cases, the bride walks on a red carpet.