The Chinese Wedding Traditions

Traditional Chinese pre-wedding rituals are a lot more complicated than the actual wedding itself. Though a lot of customs have changed in the present age, the Chinese still manage to retain most of their traditions and culture by sticking to many beautiful old customs. The cornerstone of Chinese weddings is the girl marrying into the whole family, not just the boy. Also unique in this tradition is the respect shown by the couple to all the elders in the family, a tradition hardly seen in today's world.
The Chinese wedding as it was in the past was an extremely complicated procedure. Through the ages, however, it has evolved and simplified considerably. The basic tenets of the Chinese wedding include the joining of both the families involved, showing respect to elders and ancestors, following good omens, the etiquette of giving and receiving gifts and finally, the bride joining into her husband’s family.

Proposal

It all begins with a proposal, which is placed to both the families by a neutral person, who acts as the catalyst for the wedding. Both the families meet each other - it is believed that the marriage is not only between by two individuals, but between two families. Once the parents approve of the girl and her family, they signal this approval by sending gifts to her parents through this neutral party.

The girl’s horoscope is then given to the boy’s parents, who then place it in the altar for three days. If there are no bad omens at this time, an astrologer is called to verify that her horoscope will indeed bring good to their son. If the girl’s horoscope is okayed, the boy’s family sends his horoscope to the girl’s parents and the same procedure follows. The meeting actually takes place only after the families deem each other as equals, economically, socially and status-wise.

Engagement

The families then arrive at an amount to spend on the gifts for the girl’s family. Then engagement tokens are gifted to the girl’s family and they are asked to set a suitable date for the wedding.

The Chinese wedding is never complete without the traditional tea ceremony. Serving tea is regarded as giving respect to elders. Hence the girl and the boy offer tea to all their family members before and after the Chinese wedding.

The bride also receives cakes from the groom’s family, which is then distributed among the members of her family. The girl’s family then pledges to give their daughter’s hand in marriage to the groom’s family.


Wedding

The Chinese bride is given separate accommodation, away from her parents, just before getting married and going to her husband’s house. She stays in exclusivity with some of her close friends.

The day of the wedding

The bride is bathed and dressed up in the traditional dress and elaborate hairdo. Then she is escorted from her retreat by her eldest sister-in-law. She then pays her respects to her elders and waits for the groom’s procession to arrive. The groom’s family arrives shortly and takes her to her new house, amidst much celebration.

The actual wedding is relatively simple, with the bride and groom standing in front of the family altar, sometimes partaking from a cup of tea or a goblet of wine.

After the wedding, the couple are left alone for their nuptials and then, there is a wedding banquet, conducted separately by both the families, for their family and friends’ circle.
Chinese wedding dress
Red is considered a very auspicious color in China, which was so powerful, it could even keep away bad omens and evil spirits. In China, brides wear one-piece or two-piece elaborate frocks, richly embroidered with gold and silver work. The golden phoenix and the dragon are often printed on the wedding dress.
The groom wears a black coat make of silk, worn over a dark blue robe embroidered with the dragon’s figure. He wears a black hat with red tassels. But now, grooms prefer to wear traditional dresses without the overcoat.
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