Thursday, 22 September 2011

A big turquoise Chinese wedding

Last weekend was my uncle's wedding! It looked so beautiful I thought we should take a closer look at the festivities and many, many traditions.

Chinese weddings are as complex and varied as the culture in China itself. The date of the wedding must be picked months in advance where the couple gets to pick an auspicious date of the Chinese calendar.

A week before the wedding, the bride and groom send out gift baskets filled with different goodies to each other. Each of these items carry meaning or are a symbol of prosperity, happiness, love or luck. This is equivalent to the idea of dowry and betrothal. 

Cans of ham, a number of oranges and peanut candies are just some of the many gifts that are included in the wedding baskets. Red is the colour for any Chinese traditions, which is why the basket is red too as well as the small money packets for tokens of wealth. (hong pau) According to the tradition, only when both sides have accepted, is the engagement official ! 

The night before the wedding, the bride and groom must take part in a 'combing hair' ritual. After showering with water infused with pomelo or pomegranate leaves, then each must change into new clothes and shoes. The combing must be done by a 'good fortune' member of the family (usually elder) and with each combing means a different thing: 

1. First combing : Togetherness 
2. Second combing: Harmony 
3. Third combing: Blessed with many children and grand children 
4. Fourth combing: Blessed with longevity

Sweet pink rice ball soup is served after this to wish the couple a sweet and happy marriage. 

On the big day one of the biggest traditions is the bride's journey to the groom's house. This rite of passage first comes with the 'surrender' of the bride after her side is satisfied with the groom's party offerings or acts of endurance !

This is where the bride's party prepare tests for the groom's party to pass.

Cockroach-filled jelly. Wasabi-chilli-mustard-crackers. Hair-waxing with duct-tape. Fishing keys out of raw fish / random pink bras. You name it. I saw it.

On the day of the wedding the couple performs the traditional Chinese tea ceremony. 

The bride and groom bow in fornt of the parents , grandparents and (elder) extended family to offer them a cup of tea. In return, the family elders give out packets of money (hong pau) to help the couple in their new life. The mother in law also gives gold jewellery to the bride as her dowry.

The reason behind the tea ceremony is to show final piety to the elders in the new family and to find your place within the family hierarchy. 

A new bed purchased the day before, will have been prepared scattered with red dates, oranges, lotus seeds and pomegranates as an omen of fertility. Part of the fun is watching young boys and girls jump on the bed for the same reason - the more the merrier!

 Compared to the actual pre-wedding preparations, the wedding ceremony is actually quite simple! A Master of Ceremonies acts as a host for the event.

Needless to say Chinese weddings are a lot more lavish than what they used to be  like a 'Be our Guest' soundtrack while a line of waiters waltzed in with huge silver trays in their hands, 10 course-set menus, live jazz band, and a turquoise theme since the bride loved Tiffany jewellery so much!

But just like everything in life:

it's about the little things that made their wedding unique & memorable.

*The groom and his 'Belle' made a short video about how much they mean to each other, their thoughts and reflections on marriage and their relationship so far.

*They decided to make the wedding favours interactive too. a Starbucks-inspired mug with a ClickMagicCode on the back of it, guests can use their smartphone to scan the image and watch the couple's wedding videos! They even have their own website called where friends and family can be updated with the couple's updates!

*The couple having met at a painting class based their video-reel, souvenir,and wedding album around the art theme. How cute is their pre-wedding shoot?

Romantic, with the right amount of cheese and a hell of a lot of love, it was truly a beautiful wedding!

Pass me the tissues. 

No comments:

Post a Comment