Beijing: She is no stranger to being called ‘crazy’ by locals. But the smiling 47-year-old Xiang Junfeng is so grateful and happy about the life she shares with her second husband, that she doesn’t care. Behind the woman’s mysterious habit of wearing a wedding dress every day lies a dark, tragic past, and a celebration of a happy present.
Xiang rotates the dresses she wears, ignoring the locals who think she’s strange and Xiang has stitched three wedding dresses herself in addition to the original one
Xiang Junfeng wears a wedding dress every day to honour and remember happiness her wedding day brought her after a traumatic 15 years as a slave.
She said, “My wedding day was the happiest day of my life and I never wanted it to end, and that was when I decided I wanted to not only keep wearing my wedding dress, but actually got four other wedding dresses as well.” Xiang bought one and made the other three.
A bride’s sentimental feelings about her wedding day are not unusual, but Xiang’s was especially significant to her because of her tragic past. The woman from Jimo in the Shandong province of China, said that she was kidnapped at the age of 18, then sold and forced to marry an elderly man in Linyi. Reportedly, the man used Xiang as a slave to work the fields.
After 15 years in captivity she took an opportunity to escape to Liujiazhuang village. There she found the help of a kind woman who would eventually become her sister-in-law. Xiang was introduced to the woman’s brother, the two hit it off, and were married in 2004.
The bride recalled, “I had only ever known a violent and abusive man and I avoided men until I met my new partner who brought me truly out of my shell, and treated me so differently… I couldn’t believe it when he asked me to marry him.”
The smiling woman said that the only upsetting thing about her marriage is that it cannot be officially registered because she lacks the correct paperwork due to her first marriage. Local police have said that they are thinking about helping Xiang register the marriage.
Xiang is known in town as, ‘Sister Wedding Gowns’ and rotates the dresses she wears, ignoring the locals who think she’s strange. Her attire doesn’t disturb her husband, who knows that it makes his wife happy. Xiang proclaimed, “I don’t care what people say about me. My wedding dresses are part of my life and I will continue to wear them regardless.”