Mass weddings in China-New Life Movement

This is a picture from a New Life Movement Mass Wedding in Nanjing. Couples could be married for a fee of only $20 after filling out a few forms and being checked out by the Bureau of Social Welfare.1 I was somewhat surprised that the brides were all, apparently, in white. A quick search did not find me much on mass weddings under the New Life Movement, but according to the South China Morning Post, the mass weddings were modeled on those in Italy, Germany and Russia, but that “the motivating impulse differed from that in Italy or Germany, with a desire for economy taking precedence over patriotism or “exaltation of the race”.” in 1935 “Fifty-seven couples saved approximately $57,000 today when they were married at a cost of $20 by the Mayor of Shanghai.”2 I have no idea what I might do with this information, but here is the picture.

Also, here is a picture of Zhongshan Road in the 1930s, for those of you who know what the city looks like now.


  1. from Ma Chao-chun Nanjing’s Development 1927-1937: Report on the Activities of the Municipality of Nanjing. Nanjing: Municipality of Nanjing, 1937 p. 64  

  2. https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/short-reads/article/2069486/when-hong-kong-held-its-first-mass-wedding-11  

2 Comments

  1. Thanks Alan. That book: Ma Chao-chun (as in the mayor?) Nanjing’s Development 1927-1937: Report on the Activities of the Municipality of Nanjing. Nanjing: Municipality of Nanjing, 1937 – may I ask where you came across the book? Looks like it could be really interesting beyond this particular page.

  2. Konrad, Yes, by the ,mayor. Got it from Dartmouth via ILL. I am working on something on aerial photography of China, and I was hoping they would have some pictures, but no luck. I -think- I found the reference in Musgrove, Charles D., China’s Contested Capital: Architecture, Ritual, and Response in Nanjing. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013. I can send you to TOC

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