U.S. Chinese Wed Despite Widow Year
Many Americans of Chinese descent are getting married this year, totally ignoring an idiotic superstition related to a quirk in the calendar.
Love is blooming among the dim sum shops of Chinatown this year, as it always has, even though traditionalists consider this particular year an inauspicious time to wed. A quirk in the Chinese calendar meant that the Year of the Rooster, which began in February, was missing “lichun” Ã¢€” the day that traditionally marks the beginning of spring. Folk wisdom holds that such years Ã¢€” called Widow Years by some Ã¢€” can be an unlucky time for a couple to begin a new life. Newspapers in China reported that thousands of couples besieged government offices in January, hoping to get hitched before the old year expired. New York’s city clerk’s office also had a sharp rise in applications in January.
But the custom has faded fast upon contact with new cultures and, like other young Chinese couples who have settled in America, Susan Zheng and Ming Chen have cast tradition aside and picked a wedding date in August. “We don’t care so much about that,” Chen said of the astrological intricacies, although he added that some older members of his fiance’s family had expressed some concern. “If you want to get married, you just get married,” Zheng said.
Zheng and Chen, who manage a wedding planning business on New York’s Lower East Side, said their predominantly Chinese clients have mostly brushed aside worries about the widow year in favor of more modern considerations, like when they might expect better weather or when relatives can get time off from work. “They are in America, and American people don’t care about this,” Chen said.
One would hope.