Few months ago, we bet you noticed about Angelababy’s extravagant wedding that has gone viral on the social media. Well, that shows how important a marriage is in the Chinese’s culture. Even until this very modern age, Chinese weddings are still celebrated in a traditional, auspicious and ceremonial manner (though some Western ethos are blended in).
Proof for this? See TVB actress Myolie Wu’s wedding today. She is a pretty Oriental bride in cheongsam. Not to mention, Angelababy did the same too at her luxurious ceremony.
When a man falls in love with a woman, the man’s family would hire a match-maker to propose to the girl’s family with some gifts. Originally, the gift was a live wild goose, which was the symbol of living up to the pledge between each other. Why? Because the geese were always punctual to fly to the South in Autumn and return North in Spring.
White geese (symbolizing spotless virtue), emulsion paint (jiaoqi in Chinese, symbolizing harmony and affection) and silk trees (hehuan in Chinese, symbolizing happiness) were also used.
Chinese weddings are not superstitious for no reason. Inquiring about the girl’s name and lunar birthday allows the fortune-teller to determine if the marriage would be a happy and prosperous one.
If the match is auspicious, the man’s family would then ask the matchmaker to arrange the preliminaries for the marriage with gifts and a formal letter, so called the ‘Appointment Book’, after which the two families would exchange the girl’s and the man’s lunar birthday records as the evidence of the engagement.
Subsequently, the man’s family makes preparation for the marriage. The girl’s family would also assemble for dowry such as bedding, chests, jewelry, clothing, silk & satin, plates. Some rich families even used house and store as the dowry.
Betrothal Gift Presenting
When everything was almost ready for the marriage, the man’s family presents gift-money and various gifts to the girl’s family. The variety and quantity of the gifts and gift-money are all clearly listed in a ‘Gift Book’ document.
Auspicious Day Choosing
The man’s family would then asked the fortune-teller to suggest an auspicious day according to the date of the couple’s births.
Meeting the Bride
Finally comes the peak of the marriage – the Chinese wedding day! Like what we always see in dramas, the bride would wear auspicious and festive red clothes, and the bridegroom would wear a special wedding suit accompanied by a procession to meet his bride.
Before leaving her former home, the bride would ‘kowtow’ to her parents to acknowledge their love and care from childhood. The bridegroom would also bow out of respect.
At the departure of the carriage or the bridal sedan chair, the bride’s parents would scatter a bowl of water and a bowl of rice. This represents that their daughter was leaving and would never be back — like scattered water and wishing her enough food in future. The bride would throw her fan out the window of the carriage to throw away her bad temper, upon leaving.