When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Tying the knot in Hong Kong
Tying the knot in Hong Kong

HONG KONG Couples planning to walk down the aisle in Hong Kong better have some deep pockets. Even as consumer prices generally have dropped on the Chinese island, the average cost for a wedding is up to 314,000 Hong Kong dollars (about $40,000), according to the China Daily News.

Retail sales in Hong Kong have been falling for the last eight months, in part because of fewer Chinese tourists arriving, but weddings costs have curiously spiked. Receptions alone now cost on average the equivalent of $21,000, and rings and jewelry around $6,500. The average honeymoon now sets couples back $4,900, and the rest of the budget covers the photo shoot and all additional expenses, according to a study on the ESDlife ecommerce website for brides.

The flipside is that this expensive reality is mitigated by cultural tradition. Wedding guests tend to arrive at the celebration feast with red envelopes stuffed with cash that generally cover the cost of their meals. In Hong Kong, the envelope is known as a "favor."

Everybody knows exactly how much to put in their "favor." If invited to a reception at a top-class hotel, a guest would give between, say, $130 to $150. But if the invitation is to a standard restaurant, the "favor" would only be about half as much.

Chinese pragmatism also dictates that there is no such thing as a wedding registry, and cash is a sign of sincerity. It is for this reason that any invitation to a wedding is colloquially known as a "red bomb."

Unlike in the West, where people generally marry in spring or summer, the favored time for Chinese weddings is the New Year. The rush to the altar is from November to February, so any unmarried girl in March knows she's going to have to wait one more year. At least.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

At the Russia-Georgia border

Yelena Afonina/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger, Chloe Touchard and Emma Albright

Russia’s neighbors — from Finland in the west to Mongolia 3,100 miles (5,076 km) to the east — are being flooded with the arrival of men fleeing the national draft announced last week as Moscow's invasion of Ukraine falters. Some 2,000 miles to the south of Helsinki, at the border with Georgia, there are reports of long lines of cars and bicycles trying to leave and Russian crackdowns on men trying to flee.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In the first two days after Vladimir Putin announced the mobilization, 261,000 men of conscription age have left the country. Observers believe that has likely doubled since. The most popular destinations are the neighboring countries where one can enter without a visa or even without an international passport, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia.

But Finland too has reported a major uptick, with nearly 19,000 arriving, compared to 9,000 crossing in the opposite direction. "The arrival rate is about double what it was a week ago," Mert Sasioglu of the Finnish border guard told AFP.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ