The “Revolutionary Wedding” in the Revolutionary Era

The marriage of a daughter-in-law to a daughter is something that almost every family will experience after mankind enters civilization, and is fundamental to the survival of human reproduction. For a small family, this is by no means a trivial matter, but both delightful and worrisome event. In the “pot-luck” years before the reform and opening up, the evolution of the wedding of rural people’s commune members, highlighting the two heavy colors: one is poverty; the second is revolutionary.

In my hometown of Jinan rural areas, the sacred marriage between men and women, the continuation of a very backward bad habits, following the “parents’ orders, matchmaker’s words”, and more damaging is the early marriage. Most of the children of the family grew to seven or eight years old, there is a “matchmaker” to propose a marriage. There is no matchmaking under heaven, in the serious lack of free love in rural areas, marriage matters only rely on matchmakers from the needle.

The matchmaker opened his mouth and went to the two families to talk and both parents think about it, feeling that the door is right, the man mainly look at the woman’s daughter looks handsome not handsome, the woman mainly look at the man’s family is solid not solid, most adults do not seek the views of their children, a marriage to their children set down. There are also a few families where adults are temperamental, the baby is still in the womb, the finger for marriage.

Some adults also ask their children are not satisfied, but this is only symbolic, imagine, the age of the child is still in the stage of ignorance, both shy, and timid, will not say an ugly Yin and Mao to. Some objects live in neighboring villages, boys and girls have never met, and even less able to take a stand. Some betrothal form a little more enlightened, the matchmaker led the boy and girl to the nearby temple fair, or under the stage of the play, in a hurry, glance at each other, even if they have met. There are many men and women until the bride and groom held the wedding day, only the first time to see what the other looks like.

The times have moved on for decades, but the marriage of young people in rural areas is still like Mr. Lu Xun when he married Ms. Zhu An that way. Married chicken follow the chicken, married dog follow the dog, whether the future marriage can be beautiful and happy, can only be at the mercy of parents, listen to the fate of the arrangement.

The first step in the marriage of a man and a woman in my hometown is to hold a kind of betrothal ceremony. Usually, the man’s family to send the woman a scarf, socks and hairpin, the woman’s family back to send the boy a pen or something, a marriage is finalized. After the engagement, if one of the parties for various reasons to regret, through the matchmaker to inform the other party can also be, but often by people will be shameful.

The second step of the marriage is the children of both sides to twelve or thirteen years old, need to hold a confirmation ceremony, commonly known as the “pot”. This time is more grand, the man’s family to give the woman a few pieces of clothing, but also some mirrors needle and thread and other things, the woman’s family to send back to the boy a clothing.

The day of the wedding, by the matchmaker, usually two adults who can speak, carrying a wine jug in his hand, leading the boy and girl on the other side of the family to meet parents and relatives and friends, both families to prepare a sumptuous meal, hospitality. Once the marriage is confirmed, the man’s family needs to give the woman a piece or a dress every year thereafter, until the age of about 20 years old married.

The third step is to hold the marriage ceremony, which is even more tedious. Before the marriage, the man has to send a bride price to the woman’s family. At that time, the bride price, generally fashionable “a gift” 240 yuan, both parents are open-minded or good relations, called “benevolent relatives”, pay attention to the “half gift”, half 120 yuan. The man’s family to prepare the bride price, in the economic difficulties of the times, is really frightening.

In addition, the man to marry back the daughter-in-law, but also need to prepare a new house, need to buy furniture, need to cater the banquet, calculate the total cost of how much money? The woman’s family is relatively good to receive the bride money from the man, if the family is well-off, and few children, the bride money to buy some bedding and clothing and chests, all to the daughter as a dowry, and even to pay back a little.

The parents save their daughters’ dowry money in order to give their own sons to marry their daughters-in-law. In general, boys are more worried about marrying, and not all girls are “money losers”.

“During the Cultural Revolution, the “big pot of rice” made the people’s life poorer and poorer, forcing people to rack their brains to think of many poor ways to marry their sons. No bride price, they borrowed money; no money to buy furniture, they asked carpenters temporary production; no new house, the oldest used the new house continued to use the second.

The wedding ceremony banquet, the hometown pay attention to the eight bowls, the pork used, the family fed a fat pig is enough. Some banquets also use radish, eggplant and other ingredients to make “fake meat” to dress up the facade. The main food to eat steamed buns, white flour is scarce, the use of white bread crust, which is corn flour sorghum flour, or take white cornmeal instead, the figure is the surface looks a little better.

The family of my grandmother’s elder brother got married, the family even shortage of corn flour, had borrowed a pocket of corn from my family. After two or three years of marriage, the older brother and married second brother to live separately, the older brother and sister-in-law to work hard to play a small life, only to have a little savings. That day, the elder brother carried a pocket of corn to my house, full of apologies, said, “Uncle, after so many years, you take the scale to weigh the amount, see if it is enough.”

My father scolded, “Weigh what? You still cheat your uncle?” This scene is still vivid in my mind. The peasants gave their sons to get married, both lack of food and money, especially for families with many boys, indeed the parents can be worried white head.

In his early years, my father practiced medicine in the commune and the village, and went from house to house, so he was familiar with people in the village and the neighboring villages, and folks inevitably asked him to help introduce their children to someone. My father was a warm-hearted person, and when he came across a suitable one, he would mention it to them, thus making a lot of marriages.

According to the custom, when the couple gets married, one should invite the matchmaker to drink the wedding wine; two, the newlyweds should kowtow to the matchmaker; three, they should present the matchmaker with a big steamed bun made of white flour to express their gratitude. Therefore, when a matchmaker wants to introduce a boy or girl to a certain family, he or she will often say, “I want to eat your child’s big steamed buns.” Or, “What? Your child’s big steamed buns for me to eat no?”

I remember that my father introduced a girl from a neighboring village to a young man from this village, and the man’s family had four or five boys, and the economy was quite tight. On the eve of the wedding, it was impossible to come up with the bride price of 240 yuan. My father is familiar with the parents of the girl, so he vouched for her and said: the children are not young, let them get married first, the bride price until after the wedding to you.

In this way, the two got married in a muddled manner. It was not until three years after the marriage that the man’s parents paid off the bride price that should be given to the woman. This is absolutely rare in rural areas, so the young man’s father was moved by the unusual, said: “Alas, if not for Mr. Feng from the peace, my son how can have a daughter-in-law? My son kowtowed to the matchmaker, as a rule, I should kowtow to others!”

Previously, the village held a wedding, the wedding procession in a long line. The head of the honor guard, a small boy shoulders a small stretcher, stretcher one end hanging a large rooster tied, the other end tied to a wine jug and a large onion, these things are probably a lucky bar.

When I was a child, I often undertook this task at the homes of my friends and relatives. A few other children were playing with colorful flags. Then came the suona team that blew and played, followed by the best man and the groom. The bridal party arrived at the woman’s house with great pomp and circumstance, had a good meal, and then welcomed the bride, and added the bridesmaids and bride to the return party, as well as a group of seven aunts and eight uncles and carriages.

“When the Cultural Revolution broke out, these customs were branded as the “Four Olds” of feudalism, capitalism and revisionism and were criticized. The wedding ceremony added a heavy coating of revolutionary colors. The young boy at the head of the bridal procession was not allowed to carry a rooster or a jug of wine, but instead held a portrait of the Great Leader. The folk suona class is not allowed to use, the drummer is unemployed, replaced by the brigade Mao Zedong Thought propaganda team members blowing and playing the foreign drums and trumpets. The bride and groom used to ride a high-headed mule and horse, now replaced by a bicycle.

The wedding ceremony ceremony, the newlyweds and guests first to the great leader’s portrait to perform three bows. All this, at first people are not very used to, but, gradually the old custom was replaced by the revolutionary wedding ceremony.

When the boy and girl were engaged, the gifts of scarves and pens that used to be given to each other were now replaced by Chairman Mao’s commemorative medals and Chairman Mao’s quotation book. At the wedding, friends and relatives gave gifts, also became the portrait of Chairman Mao and the writings of Chairman Mao, as well as the revolutionary model opera of the year, even the warm bottle, basin and other items, also spray-painted with the portrait of Chairman Mao and the quotations of Chairman Mao. Anyway, from inside to outside, from head to toe, the wedding is everywhere overflowing with a strong “change of customs” revolutionary color.

However, the old custom of giving a bride price for marriage, which is deeply rooted, has not been abolished by the revolution. The man’s parents believe that it is only natural to spend money to marry a daughter-in-law, and the woman’s parents also believe that they have raised the girl so much that it is perfectly appropriate to receive a bride price. Even those rural cadres and revolutionary activists who shouted revolutionary slogans loudly did not completely reject the bride price in private.

“I’d rather have socialist grass than capitalist seedlings.” The “big pot of rice” caused the collective economy to become more and more “diluted”, and the bride price for male marriages and female marriages became a heavy burden for the community members. I graduated from high school and went back to work in the village. My parents and I worked hard for a year, but the year-end dividend was only 50 yuan, which could not be cashed in time.

A boy needs a bride price of 240 yuan to marry his daughter-in-law, plus the expenses of buying furniture, clothes and bedding, and preparing for the banquet, where does the money come from? What about a farming family with two or three boys? At that time, many villages had many “bachelors” and the bride price was a hurdle that could not be overcome!

The revolutionary weddings advertised in the newspapers at that time were a wonderful and eye-opening experience. For example, a couple had their wedding in the morning and then took up their hoes in the afternoon to do farm work. Some young men and women broke the old customs and held weddings in water conservancy sites. Some young women do not want a bride price, do not want a dowry, walking to the man’s home, even if the marriage. Some men to the woman’s home, the voluntary change of customs, not to change their names. There are big cities settled in the intellectual youth, fell in love with the local peasants, breaking through the old concept of urban-rural differences, knowledge differences, age differences, etc., and resolutely married with them, settled in the countryside, determined to change the world, do a lifetime of revolution.

Such “models” are extremely rare, and there are many journalists who write “fake news” to match the political situation. It is hard to imagine whether these young intellectuals, with their progressive ideas and courageous actions, were burned out by the passion of the revolution, or whether they were trying to win political fame by making a splash. When the curtain of the Cultural Revolution came down, did they regret their immaturity and immaturity? What should they take as a consolation for the rest of their lives?

It is also worth mentioning that the pre-Cultural Revolution period was a time of social chaos. In 1973, the “Tenth Congress” of the Communist Party of China was held, and the forthcoming “Fourth National People’s Congress” was announced. At that time, there was a lot of propaganda in the newspapers advocating late marriage and family planning, so there was a rumor going around in the society that the meeting of the “Fourth National People’s Congress” would make significant changes to the Marriage Law, which stipulated that the marriage age was 20 for men and 18 for women. Uniformly postponed to 25 years of age to do.

Jinan rural popular early marriage early marriage customs, parents heard this rumor terrified, everyone “talk about the tiger”, in urban and rural areas, especially in rural areas, a wave of young men and women vying to get married. At this critical moment, the government authority not only did not come out in time to dispel the rumors, but the civil affairs department tightened the normal issuance of marriage licenses, which further contributed to the spread and credibility of the rumors.

For a time, rural parents with power and connections, have invited guests and gifts, “through the back door”, to their children to get a marriage certificate, hastily held a wedding. Most of the people who do not have the power to do nothing, in the case of receiving a marriage certificate, simply disregard everything, according to the customs of the countryside for their children held a wedding.

At first, the commune leaders and the brigade party branch and the Revolutionary Committee cadres determined to stop this bad wind, the day the wedding was held, the couple who did not receive a marriage certificate to hold a wedding, summoned to the brigade headquarters, behind closed doors, held a “Mao Zedong Thought Study Class”, ordered them to write a profound examination. In fact, this treatment can only scare the honest peasants, but all dare to take this risk, are good family composition, the sky is not afraid of the earth, “rich, anti-bad right” elements of the children, who dare to risk the world’s great wrongdoing?

These held the wedding of the “new couple” was shut down for a few days, the brigade cadres can not do anything. Say they broke the law, it is not a mortal sin; say they are not guilty, it is clear that they did not receive a marriage license to hold a wedding with great fanfare. However, the law does not blame the masses, the final big thing to make it small, no matter what have been put back home.

In this way, more and more people follow suit, creating a lawless “de facto marriage” for no reason. The “Fourth National People’s Congress” meeting, which had been expected for several years, was delayed until January 1975 and did not make any changes to the Marriage Law.

Several of my “hairy children”, previously held a wedding without a marriage certificate, and since then did not go to the civil affairs department to make up the marriage certificate. Others have already gotten married, delaying the impact of the subsequent college entrance exams. When chatting, they flirted: “Hum! What does it matter if there is a certificate or not, the doll also gave birth to two, and so on the future of my son’s marriage, let him receive a certificate, by the way, his parents’ marriage certificate to bring back!