How did an ancient woman spend the rest of her life after being a widow?
The status of women in ancient times can be said to be very embarrassing, and they guarded too many restrictions, especially after the Song and Yuan Dynasties, the Cheng-Zhu Neo-Confucianism flourished, and the chastity archway became popular. The respect for women’s chastity undoubtedly aggravated this trend. In this kind of social background, widowhood women have a particularly sad life. Although they have some choices, they all have a hard time. Here are some options for ancient women after being widows.
The first is to remarry. In ancient times, remarriage was very difficult, not to mention that you want to divorce if you marry the wrong person. This is basically impossible. In ancient times, even if your husband didn’t like you, you would not divorce your wife. After all, you could marry several wives. It is not easy for a widow to remarry. Fortunately, during the Han and Tang Dynasties, the atmosphere was open and princesses often remarried.
After the Southern Song Dynasty, remarriage was almost subject to numerous obstacles. First of all, the ex-husband’s family members would be very dissatisfied if they remarried, and would often make trouble, and people in society would give pointers, and in the superstitious ancient times, whether the remarried person could be remarried by the new family. Acceptance is also very difficult to say.
The second is to divert attention. In ancient times, widows were lonely in their hearts, but there were also many things that made them feel more important, such as their own children. They often divert their attention and give up their happiness in order to nurture their children. In “Dream of Red Mansions”, Jia Lan’s mother Li Zhi is like this. She regards educating her son as her mission. Although her heart is withered long ago, she still has a head start. This kind of rush quickly disappeared after Jialan Keju High School, and Li Zhi fell ill and died soon after Jialan became a Jinshi.
The third is more obscure, and that is to have fornication with others. The suffering of widowhood is very uncomfortable, especially for young married couples. These women lament that the rest of their lives are long and there is no chance to remarry, so they can’t extricate themselves when they have a chance to have an affair. However, this is indeed very harmful, and it is easy to be discovered. Once discovered, it will be threatened, and the more serious will be the incident. In ancient times, the punishments for fornicating people were very large. There were often lynchings such as lighting a sky lantern and soaking a pig cage, and the government would not take care of it.
The fourth is to stay quiet for a lifetime. It is really terrible to be consistent in ancient times. When you get married, you must be loyal to your husband. In ancient times, when a wife dies, the husband can marry another, but most of the widowhood becomes a widow when the husband dies. Many women’s childhood education and the surrounding environment make her only choose this widowhood method. It is really not worthwhile to exchange decades of loneliness for a chastity memorial. What’s ridiculous is that many people still hold this kind of thinking in the civilization and enlightenment.