In the past, emperors went to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing to pray for bumper harvests. Nowadays, concerned parents go there to seek divine help on finding a partner for their unwed children.
On a biting cold Friday morning in early February, one concerned mother bent down to place a handwritten advert on the path in a corner of Tiantan (Temple of Heaven) Park.
Her advert, which is about seeking a wife for her 45-year-old son, is among hundreds of pieces of paper placed on the grey, stone path. Many of them were written by hand.
At the matchmaking corner, parents swap phone numbers and make date arrangements.
Parents have been coming to this area of Tiantan for over a decade, and it is a scene reproduced in many parts of the country.
"Man, 45, state-owned enterprise employee, Renmin University graduate, seeks woman born in Beijing (should not be fat). Apartment-owner preferred," reads the advert.
An elderly woman showed some interest.
"Where is your daughter from?" the mother who just placed the advert inquired.
"Weihai," the other one answered. Weihai is a small coastal city in east China's Shandong Province.
"We want a Beijing girl," said the poker-faced mother.
"Young Beijing native" is the top attribute for her prospective daughter-in-law.
"I believe that two families of similar backgrounds can get along well with each other. Also, most Beijing women have an apartment," she said, after having advertized her son in the park on-and-off for almost four years.
She has successfully found several girlfriends for her son, but the relationships did not last long.
In a culture that places great value on family, Chinese parents are often deeply involved in their children's marriages.
China had around 180 million single adults of marriageable age in 2013. According to data released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, marriages declined in 2015, dropping 6.3 percent from 2014.