Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 14
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

A chauffeur driven car awaits the arrival of the wedding party in Dongsheng Town. Luxury cars line old Chinese villages on wedding days to take guests from the couple's homes to the wedding dinner venue. 20 years ago it would have been a sight to even see a car in these parts of China, let alone a luxury Mercedes.

Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province China.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 15
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

Wu Yongyi getting her make up done for her wedding. The bride must rise early on the day of the wedding and can end up spending long periods of time in her bedroom until the groom arrives to take her to his house.

Young women in China face many pressures from their family, like finding a potential husband and also starting a family. These are very traditional values held within China and often put pressure on young women who wish to travel and explore life further before settling down.

Dongsheng Town. Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 18
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

The bridal party are attacked with silly string as the initiation ceremony begins in Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China.Games and initiations for the groom and his party make up a huge part of any Chinese Wedding ceremony. On the morning of the wedding the groom and his party must prove their worth before the bride will be presented to the groom from her bedroom. Examples of such initiations and games include eating Wasabi sauce or bird food from the floor while doing press ups, getting sprayed with silly string or drinking coke laced with soy sauce.. In modern Chinese society these games and initiations are becoming slightly more rumbustious as Chinese youths are now drawing some influence from Western Society and more traditional practices particularly in larger cities become less prevalent.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 8
Guangdong
By Phil Behan
28 Nov 2014

Wu Yongyi follows the instructions of the women on the right, who is known in China as a Meiren. Her father holds a red lucky umbrella over their heads in a wedding ceremony in Dongshen Town, Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China.

The Meiren or Medium goes to the bride's house on the morning of the wedding and officially starts the ceremony. The Meiren is considered the link between the bride, the wedding party, and the spiritual world. On the wedding day, the Meiren will ask the gods and ancestors of the family for their blessing. She will also instruct the bride to follow the processes that are considered good luck, directing the bride and holding her hand throughout the ceremony.

In modern day China, weddings are becoming much more extravagant and Westernized. Many families will not use or require a Meiren as the idea of a spiritual connection becomes forgotten. However, in small villages the traditions of old are still deeply rooted in each ceremony.

Dongshen Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 9
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Local men and young distant relatives loiter outside the bridal party's home in Zhongshan City. Like the economy, Chinese youth culture is changing fast, both in fashion and in mindset.

The man on the right wears the early Mao influenced three piece business suit, which is symbolic of the early communist era. While the young man standing slightly to the left opts to go for a more modern punk / rebellious garb.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 16
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Dinner is prepared for a wedding feast in Dongsheng Town. Often migrant workers from Northern Chinese Provinces cook food for wedding parties. Many things have changed in China for many people, but for others, such as migrants from the Northern Provinces, much remains the same.

Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 19
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

The bride and groom leave after being adequately protected from the rain from their personal chauffeur and valet in Panyu District, Guangzhou. Guangdong Province China. This type of personal service and elegant touch is now provided by many different companies in China. The wedding business is a booming industry after being non existent in previously poorer generations. Most parents of newly weds could never have imagined such services like the ones provided in todayÕs modern weddings. Many have memories of being transported to their venue by 3 wheel cart and having a dress previously handed down by another family member or another girl who may have married recently living in their village.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 21
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

A chauffeur driven car departs for a the wedding party in Zhongshan City. Guangdong Province China. Luxury cars line old Chinese villages on the wedding day to take guests from the couples homes to the wedding dinner venue. 20 years ago it would have been a sight to even see a car in these parts of China, notwithstanding a luxury Mercedes.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 2
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

The Happy couple depart ! Zheng Ying and her husband are taken to their ceremonial dinner in a chauffeur driven Porsche with their own personal paparazzi in tow.

Chinese couples can spend upwards of 100,000 RMB ($16,000) on their wedding. Items such as gold jewelry, luxury car rentals, plush hotel venues and fine foods and wines are among some of the purchased items. The Wedding ceremony is often seen as an important day for families to show off their wealth and stature to friends and others in their community.

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 5
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

An entrance to a wedding party in Guangzhou City. Guangdong Province. China.

Thousands of dollars is spent by couples on putting on a lavish after party or wedding dinner . The more opulent the better, with no expense being spared. Couples can often recuperate the money spent on the dinner as guests are expected to give the couple a red envelope with some cash or gifts. A typical Chinese wedding can cost a couple upwards of 100,000 RMB ($16,000), depending on the extravagance or wealth of the families. It is customary that the groom's party should foot the wedding bill, but in modern China this custom has become dependent on whether the bride's party are interested in halving the costs. Over the past 20 years, the amount of cash that can now be allocated to couples on their wedding day has risen at an extraordinary level. 20 years ago an average Chinese wedding may have only cost around 10,000 RMB ($1,600).

Thumb sm
Chinese marriage 6
Pear River Re
By Phil Behan
04 Nov 2014

Weiyan Lan and her grandson Shen Jiliang watch the departure of the a wedding party in Dongsheng Town. Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 14
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

An African woman walks past store specialising in wigs and hair extensions at a wholesale market inside the Tianxiu Building where many Africans have offices and residential apartments. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 13
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

A store specialising in wigs and hair extensions at a wholesale market inside the Tianxiu Building where many Africans have offices and residential apartments. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 11
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Bah Umaru Alpha, 26, from Kenema, Sierra Leone, and his 8 month old son Mohammed, at the window of Alpha's apartment in the Tianxiu Building near Xiaobei metro station. Many Africans have offices and homes in the 32 story Tianxiu Building, which is also home to a wholesale market. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 10
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Bah Umaru Alpha, 26, from Kenema, Sierra Leone, and his 8 month old son Mohammed, at the window of Alpha's apartment in the Tianxiu Building near Xiaobei metro station. Many Africans have offices and homes in the 32 story Tianxiu Building, which is also home to a wholesale market. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 09
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Three African women get a pedicure at a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 08
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Africans at a counter that offers cheap international phone calls at a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 07
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

African women shop at a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 06
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Bah Abdullaye (right), 42 and his Chinese wife at and daughter at their clothing shop in a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Abdoulaye, who fled civil war in his home in Sierra Leone has a refugee visa obtained through the UN. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 27
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Brothers Bah Thiero Ibrahima, 26 and Bah Umaru Alpha, 28, (center left and right) from Kenema, Sierra Leone, evening prayer during Ramadan at Huaisheng Mosque, which is China's oldest mosque at 1,300 years.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 16
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Abubakarr Barrie, 32, in his office in the Tianxiu Building where he is assistant manager of an international freight company that ships goods to to West Africa. Barrie is currently completing an MBA at university in Guangzhou, which has the largest African community in Asia. Many Africans have offices and residential apartment in the 32 story Tianxiu Building in Xiaobei district, which is also home to many wholesale markets.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 12
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

An African man walks by a store specialising in attire for Muslim women at a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 05
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

Bah Abdullaye (right), 42 and his Chinese wife at and their two daughters at their clothing shop in a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Abdoulaye, who fled civil war in his home in Sierra Leone has a refugee visa obtained through the UN. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 04
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

An African woman with an umbrella walk near a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on short term visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 03
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

An African man carries a bulgingly full plastic bag on his shoulder near a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on short term visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 02
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

An African woman crosses a road near a wholesale market near Xiaobei metro station. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on short term visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 01
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
15 Jul 2014

(L-R): Brothers Bah Thiero Ibrahima, 26 and Bah Umaru Alpha, 28, from Kenema, Sierra Leone, on their way to mosque. Many Africans have offices and homes in the 32 story Tianxiu Building, which is also home to a wholesale market. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 15
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
14 Jul 2014

Modather Adam Abaker Ahmad from Khatoum in Sudan at his store 'Afro Digital' a wholesale market in Xiaobei district. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia and an African quarter colloqially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'. There are no accurate figures to how many Africans live in the city, some fly and out to buy cheap goods at local wholesale markets to sell in their home countries.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 21
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
14 Jul 2014

Bah Mohamed Alsrahid, 32, from Kenema, Sierra Leone, travels the subway. Bah, who studies mining engineering at university in Wuhan travelled to visit some Sierra Leonean friends. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 20
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
14 Jul 2014

Clocks in a lobby in the Tianxiu Building display times in various African cities as well as Beijing and New York. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia. Many Africans have offices and residential apartment in the 32 story Tianxiu Building in Xiaobei district, which is also home to many wholesale markets.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 19
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
14 Jul 2014

Mohammed, a Nigerian who declined to give his second name, negotiates the price of underwear with a trader at the wholesale market inside the Tianxiu Building. Mohammed had flown from Lagos to purchase underwear wholesale for sale in Nigeria. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 18
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
14 Jul 2014

Mohammed and Mohammed from Nigeria stand in the corridor of a wholesale market inside the Tianxiu Building where many Africans have offices and residential apartments. The men had flown from Lagos to purchase underwear wholesale for sale in Nigeria. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 17
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
14 Jul 2014

Three African women walk on a pedestrian overpass in the Xiaobei district. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia and an African quarter colloqially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'. There are no accurate figures to how many Africans live in the city, some fly in to buy cheap goods at local wholesale markets, while some have remained, sometimes have overstaying their visas.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 29
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
13 Jul 2014

Two African women in Yuexiu District. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas. The city has an African quarter colloquially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 28
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
13 Jul 2014

Two Nigerians who declined to give their names at a Sunday school at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas. The city has an African quarter colloquially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 26
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
13 Jul 2014

'Fine', a Nigerian who declined to give his second name and his Chinese girlfriend outside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral. Some African migrants are able to operate businesses through Chinese partners, although permanent residency is almost impossible to acquire. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas. The city has an African quarter colloquially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'. The church's English language Sunday service attracts more than a thousand African Christians each week.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 25
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
13 Jul 2014

African worshippers at the English language Sunday service at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia with a floating population of traders who fly and out on 30 day visas. The city has an African quarter colloqially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'. The church's English language Sunday service attracts more than a thousand African Christians each week.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 24
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
13 Jul 2014

An African worshipper walks by a throng of beggars outside the at the entrance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia and the church's English language Sunday service attracts more than a thousand African Christians each week. The city has an African quarter colloqially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 23
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
13 Jul 2014

Two female African worshippers walk by a throng of beggars as they leave the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral after Sunday service. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia and the church's English language Sunday service attracts more than a thousand African Christians each week. The city has an African quarter colloqially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'.

Thumb sm
Chocolate City 22
Guangzhou, Guangdong
By David Tacon
13 Jul 2014

Peter, who declined to give his second name, volunteers at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral. He is picture here after Sunday service. Guangzhou has the largest African community in Asia and the church's English language Sunday service attracts more than a thousand African Christians each week. The city has an African quarter colloqially know by its residents as 'Chocolate City'. Many Africans have overstayed their visas and face deportation is.