Chinese weddings are lavish and full of colors. They are also a celebration marked by traditions and rituals. These are some of the most common Chinese wedding traditions.
The groom should give betrothal gifts (phoenix and dragon candles, gold jewelry, brandy or wine, sesame seeds, tea leaves) to the parents of the bride. These gifts symbolize good fortune and prosperity. Bride’s parents should return half of the gifts to show that they want to have great relationship with the family of the groom.
Choosing the wedding day
Many couples will consult a fortune teller, Feng Shui master or Chinese monk to help them pick a wedding date. Birthday details and the couple’s Chinese zodiac signs will also play a role in wedding date choosing.
Invitation for the Chinese wedding is in red color with gold letters. It includes order of birth, names of the couple and their parents. It also includes date and time for the wedding banquet, dinner venue and cocktail reception.
This tradition takes place 2-3 days before the wedding. Red sheets, red pillows and mix of nuts and dried fruits are arranged on the bed. This symbolize long-lasting and sweet marriage, blessed with well wishes and fertility.
Bride and groom should take a bath with pomelo leaves the night before the wedding, to cleanse off evil spirits. Then they should change into red slippers and red clothes. The groom should sit facing the inside of the house. The bride should sit in front of a window or a mirror. Their parents should prepare scissors, red candles, incense sticks, hair comb, wooden ruler, red yarn with cypress tree leaves. Woman of good fortune will light an incense stick and candles, comb the bride’s or groom’s hair four times and recite blessings. Then, she’ll clip the red yarn on their hair.
Lucky symbols and colors
Gold and red are main colors for Chinese wedding decor. Red represent success, love, happiness, luck, prosperity, fertility, loyalty and honor. Gold is a wealth symbol. Double Happiness symbol is composed of two identical Chinese characters meaning joy. Other favorable symbols are phoenixes, dragons, mandarin ducks. Gold pig necklace is usually gifted to the bride. Pigs are a symbol of fertility.
Picking up the bride
This Chinese wedding tradition includes playing of gongs or drums and firecrackers. Usually, a child walks in front of the procession, to symbolize fertility.
Testing the groom
Of all Chinese wedding traditions, this one is the most fun. Bridesmaids will test the groom’s knowledge of his bride. He will have to give them red envelope with money, to make them ‘surrender’ their girlfriend. Groom should also eat something sour, spicy, sweet and bitter – to show that he can go through every phase of marriage.
Tea ceremony tradition is performed during the wedding. The couple will express their gratitude, appreciation and respect for their parents’ support and love. Lotus seeds, red dates and dried longans are added to the black tea. Bride and groom will serve tea to their parents. After they take a sip of tea, parents will give a red package with gold jewelry or money to bless the marriage. Bride and groom will then serve tea to paternal grandparents, uncles, aunts and older married relatives. They will repeat the tea serving for maternal side of the family.
Vow exchange can take place in an intimate ceremony or at a government office. Bride and groom will stand in front of the family altar, give respect to their ancestors and bow to each other.
Parents of the couple are hosting this eight-course event. Symbolic food is on the menu. Fish represents abundance. Pig represents bride’s purity. Duck or chicken represents unity and peace. Dessert made from lotus seeds represents fertility. During the banquet, the bride will change into a red dress.
3 days after
Bride and groom visit her family 3 days after the wedding. Bride’s family will welcome them with a mini feast. The groom should bring roasted pig as a gift.
What are your thoughts on these Chinese wedding traditions?
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