Spring Festival, or the Chinese New Year, is a time for family reunion in China. This year, Chinese people are expected to take to the air, roads and railways 3.6 billion times in order to be at home during Spring Festival. But one son, who has been far far away from home, probably isn’t going to be among the 3.6 billion.
Earlier this week, an eager Chinese mom bought a whole page of ad on Chinese Melbourne Daily to post a letter to her oversea son, calling him to go home.
“To my son Peng,
I’ve made many calls to you, but you never picked up. This ad is probably the only thing that can reach you. Mom and dad won’t force you to get married any more. Please go back home for Spring Festival this year!
Several things that we can learn from the ad. First, the family must be rich to be able to afford a whole page of ad space. Secondly, this mom (and the dad, too?) surely know how to “force” their son, and the son has been forced to get married for a long time.
The short ad perfectly captures the biggest hurdle in an otherwise harmonious parent-son relationship in today’s China – the older generation’s thirst for grandkids. The ad was soon picked up by many Chinese netizens who can relate to the son themselves. Like one netizen 木乃伊Jessica commented: “I don’t want to go home, either, because I am forced to find a partner by my parents, too.” But there are also those who sympathize with the mom. One netizen tattoo_lover王薇 commented: “Being forced to get married is such a common problem. It shouldn’t be an excuse. Being a son, it’s his duty to keep in touch with his family.”
For thousands of years in China’s history, filial piety has been seen as the most important and fundamental of all virtues; and failure to bear offspring has been deemed as a top violation of filial piety. To a certain extent, such mentality still exists in China, especially among older generations.
Questions about partners and plans of marriage have consistently been voted as the biggest headache that many Chinese young adults have to face when at home during Spring Festival. Marriage is such a big deal that single women in their late 20s are labeled “leftover women.” In return, avoiding questions about marriage is such a big deal that one can actually “rent” a boyfriend or girlfriend on Taobao, China’s biggest consumer-to-consumer marketplace, to please demanding parents during Spring Festival.