No bride price, no marriage in China , Society News
Deeply influenced by Confucian patriarchal beliefs, heterosexual marriage is regarded as the primary means to start a family and reproduce offspring. The bride price, therefore, lies at the heart of understanding marriage and family in Chinese society.
Chains of tradition
Bride price has a long history in China. Caili (彩礼), the bride price or the betrothal gifts, is also called pinli (聘礼) or pincai (聘财). It has been one of the most important marriage customs in ancient China since the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC to 771 BC).
Traditional Chinese wedding pastries. (SPH)
According to the 44th chapter of the Book of Rites in the Han Dynasty (202 BC to 8 AD), an essential collection of ritual systems in ancient China, a legal marriage consists of six rites (liuli 六礼), namely, nacai (纳彩), wenming (问名), naji (纳吉), nazheng (纳征), qingqi (请期) and qinying (亲迎). The fourth step is particularly crucial in forming the marriage: the groom’s family should offer betrothal gifts (bride price) to the bride’s family, including money, jewellery, antiques, clothes, furniture, food, animals, etc.
The prevalence of bride price reflects the patriarchal and patrilocal traditions, which commoditises women as transferable familial properties
The tradition of paying bride price lasted for a long time, even up to the late Qing Dynasty period (1840 – 1912) and the era of the Republic of China (1912 – 1949). The practice persisted right until the PRC government forbade any form of property-asking in marriage. However, bride price re-entered into marriage negotiations in the late 1970s.
The prevalence of bride price reflects the patriarchal and patrilocal traditions, which commoditises women as transferable familial properties, as the famous Chinese proverb indicates: marrying off a daughter is like pouring water out of a jug (jia chuqu de nü’er po chuqu de shui 嫁出去的女儿泼出去的水). The bride price symbolises the transfer of rights to control a woman’s body and labour from her natal family to her husband’s family. As compensation to the bride’s family for their labour loss, the groom’s family should provide some money or gifts. Therefore, bride price is gender asymmetric and patriarchal in nature.
On 23 November 2017, The Economist issued a special report on marriage. One of the articles makes this keen observation on the issue of bride price:
“Like India, most of China is patrilocal: in theory, at least, a married woman moves into her husband’s home and looks after his parents. Also, like India, China has a deep cultural preference for boys. But whereas India has dowries, China has bride prices. The groom’s parents, not the bride’s, are expected to pay for the wedding and give money and property to the couple. These bride prices have shot up, bending the country’s society and economy out of shape.”
An acute malaise in rural areas
Bride price is increasingly recognised as a serious, nation-wide public social concern in contemporary mainland China. In June 2013, a National Bride Price Map was first issued in Sina Microblog, an important we-media channel in China. According to the map, the highest bride price then was paid in Shanghai, consisting of a house and 100,000 RMB (about S$20,000). In Heilongjiang Province, Jilin Province, Liaoning Province, Jiangxi Province and Qinghai Province, the bride price was about 500,000 RMB (about S$100,000). Shandong Province, Hunan Province and Zhejiang Province had a 100,000 RMB bride price rate in general. The average bride price is relatively high compared to the annual per capita gross income of Chinese citizens.
Based on the National Bureau of Statistics of China report in 2014, the annual per capita gross income of Chinese urban citizens was 26,955 RMB (about S$5400), and that was 8896 RMB (S$ 1780) for rural citizens. In this sense, for the average 100,000 RMB bride price, the Chinese urban citizens should save money for about four years, and the rural citizens should prepare more than twelve years, just for the bride price alone. What is worse, in 2017, the bride price doubled in many rural areas while the annual income only witnessed a slight increase with 36,396 RMB (about S$7300) in the urban areas and 11,969 RMB (about S$2400) in the rural areas.
In a private museum at North Canal Road are exhibition pieces showcasing antique wedding decorations, including a Chinese wedding sedan chair. (SPH)
“No bride price, no marriage” seems to be the snapshot of the marriage market in China, especially in rural areas. Though bride price signifies women’s subordination, it becomes a means for rural women to be economically advantaged. China is one of the fewer countries in the world where compulsory bride price (the marriage expenses offered by the groom’s family) and voluntary dowry (the marriage expenses provided by the bride’s family) co-exist.
The gendered asymmetry of marriage expenses should be examined in the dynamics of Chinese policies.
First, the wide-known fertility policy — One-Child Policy from Sep 1980 to Jan 2016 — and the long-held son preference result in the marriage squeeze (the number of marriageable women is particularly low because of the imbalanced sex-ratio) in rural China. What is worse, the scarcity of women in the rural areas due to the fertility policy aggravates the vicious circle — the poorer an area is, the higher the bride price is.
Second, China implements the Household Registration System (hukou) which divides citizens into those with urban hukou status and rural hukou status. Since urban hukou holders enjoy more benefits from the state, women prefer to marrying-up as Roseann Lake explains in her book Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower (2018):
“The quickest route to a hukou upgrade is marriage. If a rural woman marries a man with an urban hukou (or vice versa), the spouse marrying into the urban hukou is entitled to one as well. Like houses, cars, and salaries, the right hukou has also become valuable as a marriage bargaining chip……As a result, men with urban hukou are in high demand……The most disadvantaged in this hierarchy are, once again, migrant men.”
The continued ignorance and deliberate demeaning of women’s multiple contributions to career and family will inevitably influence the next generation of Chinese women’s life choices.
Marrying up is not only the concern of rural women themselves but also the wish of their parents. For most rural parents, marrying daughters to urban households is their strategy to expand their network of security. Consequently, rural men have to offer the bride price to prove that they can guarantee their wives with a promising life.
Commonly used items in a traditional Chinese wedding. (SPH)
The fierce competition of having a wife is also intensified by the land policy, the third factor. Although women’s rights are written in law, they are not guaranteed in reality. Since men are usually treated as the head of the household and the owner of the land, rural women lose the economic source — land, the main property in rural areas. Bride price seems to be the only way to maintain economic security.
Though some social media blames women for the sky-high bride price (tianjia caili 天价彩礼), desperately calling on abolishing it, bride price still prevails in most rural areas in China. Bride price seems to be a backlash to patriarchy: A price is always exacted for what patriarchy demands. The continued ignorance and deliberate demeaning of women’s multiple contributions to career and family will inevitably influence the next generation of Chinese women’s life choices.
In a modern society where money talks, individuals tend to support themselves. Most self-supportive Chinese women don’t buy the traditional myth that women should marry well rather than do well in their careers (gandehao buru jiadehao 干得好不如嫁得好). The state may worry about high bride price now, but it will soon find that women won’t be ‘priced’ anymore in the future because of their increasing labour value. Soon, women’s voices will be heard despite the prevailing patriarchal ideologies. What we need is gender equality, not the so-called position of privilege of being the fairer sex.
17 Chinese Wedding Traditions – Facts and Details
By Eivan’s Wedding Team
Despite civilization, weddings traditions are still observed in China. The Chinese traditions are to esteemed highly in their community. This group of people is famous for observing and keeping to their culture than other tribes. 10 million couples get married across the world each year. There is a good number of Chinese who are not shy to showcase their wedding traditions.
Chinese wedding traditions come with a disclaimer. There are over 55 ethnicity groups living in China. All have very distinct wedding traditions. A wedding is different in each of these ethnic groups. Nonetheless, there are a few basic wedding customs that cut across these groups.
Lets Discover Their Traditions
Yuelao – The god of matchmaking
In China, they have a matchmaking god Yuelao. Yuelao is in charge of people’s marriage. He unites two people by tying a red string around their ankles of the future husband and wife.
In the ancient days, most young men and women would go to Yuelao temple to pray for a perfect match. It is still done today in these modern times.
Making a proposal
After a young man found his future wife, his parents would visit the girl’s parents to ask for a marriage proposal. After they accept the proposal, they plan for a formal meeting to negotiate the betrothal.
The matchmaker did all the work of negotiations. In modern Chinese weddings, most young people do not use a matchmaker any more.
Betrothal gifts and dowry payment
Before engagement, the Chinese customs required betrothal and dowry payment to take place. The groom’s family presents customary grand gifts. These gifts include various proposal gifts symbolizing prosperity and fertility.
These gifts are to appreciate the girls’ parents for raising her. The girls’ family sends the dowry consisting of jewelry. This show their support for their daughter getting married to the young man.
The betrothal and dowry customs are an important part of the Chinese. Only after this, then are the two considered officially engaged. The day of the wedding was also agreed upon.
Chinese wedding colors
Did you know a Chinese bride does not adorn a white wedding dress? Bright and warm colors are the highlight of the big day. Their wedding color is a bright warm color especially red.
White which is the Western Style associates with funerals. Some modern Chinese brides who go for a western wedding wear a white dress. The wedding photos are of the colorful wedding make great memory reminders.
The Wedding Date
Traditional Chinese culture requires couples to seek advice in choosing an auspicious date. They seek advice from fortune tellers, monks or the Chinese calendar.
Their wedding date is relative to their birth dates. There are certain dates that should they should avoid because they are unlucky. The unlucky days are the 18th of March, August and September.
Traditional Chinese weddings have red wedding invitations placed in a red envelope. The wording is usually in red or gold and placed vertically in Chinese writing.
The Chinese calendar date is first, followed by the birth dates for the bride, groom and their parents. The diner venue, time and cocktails are all noted down. The Chinese double happiness symbol is somewhere on the invitation.
Picking the bride for the wedding day
Chinese traditions start with picking the bride on the wedding day. The groom leads a loud procession to the bride’s home. This procession lights firecrackers and plays loud musical instruments.
This is to show how happy the groom’s family is to receive a new bride. A child walks at the front to symbolize the grooms desire to have children.
The hair combing tradition
Yes, the hair combing ceremony is a Chinese wedding custom. It takes place the day before the wedding ceremony at the bride’s home. It signifies a transition from childhood to adulthood.
The brides’ mother or a close relative performs the hair combing ceremony. Dragon phoenix candles are lit and blessing lines recited as the bride’s hair is being combed.
This beautiful tradition provides a special moment between the bride and her mother. Modern Chinese weddings still encourage brides to undergo this tradition.
Games played by bridesmaid
When the groom arrives at the bride’s house, he has to haggle with the bride’s friends. They make her perform stunts and won’t allow him to pass until he hands them red packets full of money.
When the groom finally sees his bride, they both bow down to the bride’s parents. This is a sign of respect and blessing before returning to the groom’s house.
The door games
Chinese door games known as Chuangmen are important. They originated from the idea that the bride is a prized daughter who is worth much. The bride’s family refuses to marry her off until the man proves himself.
The Chinese customs calls for the groom to play some entertaining door games. These games are a part of the procession or played at the banquet. Until the groom has completed all tests the bridesmaid will not allow him to see the bride.
The wedding celebration
Chinese wedding ceremonies are small and more formal. The ceremony is in a government house or a courthouse with very few people in attendance. According to the customs, prayers are an integral part of the ceremony.
The tea ceremony
The tea ceremony is to honor parents and always begins with prayer.
Popular tea varieties used include
- orange blossom
- black dragon
- green tea
The couple kneels on tea pillows facing the parents and take turns serving tea to each set of parents.
Chinese newlyweds receive gifts of red envelopes or hong bao. Guests present these envelopes full of money. When gifting the couple, the number 4 and its multiples is bad luck as it stands for death.
Multiples of 8 are usually good luck, thus making them the best to gift. Older relatives also give meaningful bracelets and necklaces to the bride and groom.
The grand Chinese wedding banquet
Each of the two families hosts their own wedding feasts. In China, wedding celebrations go for some days. The wedding banquets are a big affair with colorful decorations and lots of meals served. There are five to ten courses of food served. The fish ‘yu’ is an integral part of the feast.
They serve it to represent plentiful. It is also garnished on the soup to depict fertility for the newlyweds. Lotus seeds are traditional desserts that are a symbol of fertility. The modern Chinese wedding reception is jointly celebrated by both families.
The wedding night
The first night of the newlyweds will see the bride’s mother or mother in law prepare the bridal bed. The bridal chamber is unique for every couple.
It consists of new red sheets, a plate of dried longans, red dates, lotus seeds, permissions and a sprig of pomegranate leaves. Young boys jump on the bed before the wedding night to promote fertility in the new couple.
The next day after wedding
The day after, the bride gets up early and greets the groom’s family members and relatives. She is then introduced to the whole family on this day.
She prepares breakfast at the groom’s home for all the family. In return, she receives gifts or cash from all the guests. She is also given a title by the groom’s parents according to the seniority of her husband in the family. The title is her identity among her extended family.
Third day celebrations
Chinese couples love celebrating weddings. After three days, the couple visits the brides’ family. By this time, the girl is no longer considered as a part of her household, she is a guest. They enjoy meals with the family and spend some quality time together as per the wedding customs.
Deliver the chinese dowry 送嫁妆
The chinese dowry may be delivered with the return gifts on the day of betrothal or delivered a few days before the wedding.
Some people have the impression that chinese weddings are expensive affair for the groom¡¯s parents since they have to pay for the betrothal gifts, bride price and wedding banquet.
However, it may not be so, as the bride¡¯s parents also have a long long list of items to prepare for the bride’s dowry and may also co-pay for the wedding banquet.
The dowry typically include personal items for the bride and household or electrical appliances for the couple¡¯s new home, such as
- tea set,
- bedroom furniture and bathroom items,
- set of washbasins and buckets called “子孙桶”,
- electrical household appliances,
- gold jewellery, etc.
Tea set for wedding tea ceremony 茶具
A tea set for the wedding tea ceremony must be included. After the wedding, the tea set is kept and used once again when the bride¡¯s and groom¡¯s daughter serve her parents tea when she gets married.
It is a chinese tradition for daughter-in-law to greet her parents-in-law with tea (敬茶）every morning. However, in modern society, such traditions are no longer followed.
The bride will only serve her parents-in-law tea during the wedding ceremony and perhaps during certain festive events, such as the in-law’s birthdays and chinese new year.
The bride¡¯s parents will provide a new set of bedsheet for the couple to install the bridal bed.
The beddings may include a new set of pillows, bolsters, comforter set, blankets, bed sheets, etc. all tied with red ribbons.
Bedroom furniture and bathroom items
In the past, the bride¡¯s parent might provide bedroom furniture such as vanity table, wardrobe, basin stand and washbasin, bath tub, spittoon, etc. Some would give wooden chinese wedding chests instead of wardrobes.
Instead of providing the couple with the bedroom furniture, parents are now giving a sum of money to for the couple to buy their own furniture. These days, the wardrobes or wedding chests are usually replaced with traveling suitcases.
Small item including toiletries such as comb and mirror, toothpaste and toothbrushes, tumblers, perfume and lotions, are also packaged with little red or pink ribbons and delivered to the groom¡¯s home as part of the chinese dowry.
Buckets of off-spring! 子孙桶
A set of baby bathtubs, pails, face washbasin, in red and with chinese wedding designs and the famous chinese spittoon collectively referred to as 子孙桶 is included in the dowry. 子孙桶 is literally “buckets of off-spring”
Why? Because in the past when women gave birth at home, these bathtubs and buckets were necessary items to be used for childbirth.
From a practical aspect, the spittoon was also necessary gift from the bride’s parents. The toilets of chinese household were not easily accessible from the bedrooms in the past as they were usually built as out-houses for sanitation purposes. Hence chinese used spittoons for passing urine in the bedrooms at night and clear them in the morning. (The stuff made very good fertilizer :-0 ).
Bathrooms are now build in-door in modern chinese housing. Therefore spittoons for the chinese dowry are now usually replaced with cutesy baby potties instead of the adult version.
A Hokkien’s special tradition for the 子孙桶
The hokkiens will seal red dates, dried longans, dried lotus seeds, sweets etc into the spittoon/baby potty 子孙桶 with a piece of red paper.
When the dowry is delivered to the groom’s side, the red paper and all the sweet goodies inside are removed and distributed to children. A young boy, preferably born in the year of the dragon, will be invited to pass urine into the spittoon.
Yes, you guessed it! This ritual wishes for a boy child for the couple!
Electrical household appliances
Most modern young chinese prefer to set up their own household when they get married. It became popular for parents to give the bride electrical household appliances as part of her dowry. These may include refrigerator, microwaves, washing machines, televisions, etc.
In the 60s and 70s it was popular to give sewing machines as part of the dowry as sewing was considered a wifely virtue. Many housewives made clothes for their own family and supplemented their husbands’ income with tailoring.
However, by the 80s hardly anyone wanted to sew their own clothes when manufactured ones were affordable and easily available. More women became better educated and entered the workforce and shifted their attention to acquiring workplace skills rather than domestic skills.
A simple sewing basket meant only for the occasional patching and mending job is included in the dowry.
This is usually a double joy sewing basket with even numbered rolls of colourful thread, needles, pincushion, scissors, and sewing wax with auspicious words on it.
The quantity of new clothing included in the chinese dowry varies from dialect groups to dialect groups. For teochews, it can be between 10 to 12 sets of new clothes which for economic purposes may also include pyjamas .
Red wooden clogs were worn as wedding shoes during the Later Han 后汉 (AD947-950). In traditional families, two pairs of red wooden clogs wedding slippers are included as part of the chinese dowry. Since they are not commonly available they are now usually replaced with bedroom slippers.
I remembered the wooden red clogs were usually relegated for use in the wet toilet in grandma’s house after weddings. As a kid, I wore them as playthings. They made nice ki-ki-kia-kia sounds while skipping or walking in them but were not particularly comfortable to wear.
Gold jewellery given by the bride¡¯s parents or owned by the bride is included as part of the bridal dowry. Sometimes these are brought over only on the wedding day itself.
Theoretically, the gold jewellery included as part of the bride¡¯s dowry belongs to the groom¡¯s family and may be apportioned according to the parent-in-law¡¯s wishes. Hence it is common that a ¡°sister¡± of the bride will make sure the groom¡¯s parents are aware of the riches brought over by the bride.
Chinese prefer pure gold (99.9%/24K)or 916 gold (22K gold). Anything below that, such as 18K gold commonly used in fashionable gold jewellery, is not considered ¡°real¡± gold to chinese.
Some brides will even get gold jewellery sets known as four items of gold 四点金 as bride dowry from their parents although these are normally given by the groom¡¯s parents to brides as betrothal jewellery.
In summary, the chinese dowry includes,
- tea set for the wedding tea ceremony,
- beddings, pillows, bolsters, comforter set, blankets, bed sheets, etc., tied with red ribbons,
- 子孙桶- baby bathtub, potty, face washbasin, in red and with wedding designs,
- toothpaste and toothbrushes, tumblers, mirror, comb,
- sewing basket with even numbered rolls of colourful thread, needles, pincushion, scissors, and sewing wax with auspicious words on it,
- new clothing in a suitcase for the bride,
- two pairs of red wooden clogs or bedroom slippers,
- gold jewellery from the bride¡¯s parents or owned by the bride (sometimes this is only brought over on wedding day).
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12 Chinese Wedding Traditions You Need to Know
Lively and full of color, Chinese weddings are lavish affairs that are as much about the happy couple as they are about their respective families. A celebration marked by rituals and traditions, many symbolic aspects focus on blessings of prosperity, abundance, and happiness for the couple from both friends and family members.
To learn more about Chinese weddings, we consulted experts Celia Yu and Nicole Froelich. “Chinese weddings can last the whole day because of all the Chinese wedding traditions,” shares Yu. The length and size of the party largely depend on what both families agree to and their requirements, as well as the provinces, different traditions, and rituals.
Meet the Expert
- Celia Yu is the owner and lead wedding planner at Big Day Service, a wedding planning company based in San Francisco that specializes in weddings full of cultural heritage, authenticity, and timeless moments.
- Nicole Froelich is an expert destination wedding planner and owner of Nicole Please. Based in Hong Kong and fluent in Mandarin, German, Swiss-German, French, and English, she’s pulled off picture-perfect weddings in Spain, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Italy.
“Ultimately it consists of two main parts,” adds Froelich. “Where the Chinese tea ceremony is intimate and only for both families, the Chinese banquet (in Western weddings, it’s the wedding reception) is for the guests of the couple and both families.”
Just as donning an all-white dress to a Western wedding is frowned upon, wearing red is best avoided at a Chinese wedding. The bride will change into a red dress at some point in the festivities, so it’s best not to upstage her. Somber hues like dark blue, black, and grey are not advised as they can symbolize bad luck, death, or mourning for the marriage. Warm tones like purple, peach, and pink, however, are welcome as they signal new life and happiness.
Instead of a gift registry, it’s customary for guests to present the wedding couple with a red gift envelope containing money. The envelope should be decorated with auspicious characters—such as happiness and wealth—and containing a sum in even numbers and preferably containing the numeral 8 as it means prosperity in Chinese. Avoid giving odd numbers, or amounts ending in 4s.
Before entering the wedding banquet, guests should hand over the red packet to a bridesmaid who will take note of the amount of money received in a record book. If the couple is later invited to their guest’s wedding, it is expected for them to gift them a higher sum of money than they were given.
The gift needs to be at the same value as the intended red packet. It cannot be anything that symbolizes the numeral four or involves four items as the number means death. Consider giving a couple’s massage voucher or an experience they can enjoy together. For relatives, fine jewelry, gold, and diamonds are also acceptable.
Read on for the most common traditions and practices you’ll see at a Chinese wedding.
A Guide to Traditional Chinese Wedding Customs
ByLi Yen and Jocelyn Neo
In ancient China, a marriage ceremony is a solemn and sacred occasion.
Michelle Neo, the co-owner of Chinese Wedding Shop, happily shares her knowledge with anyone who steps into her retail stores.
“We will try to explain to them all the customs, all the cultures and everything they wish to know even before they buy anything. This is our policy,” she says.
Apart from doing business, a noble aspiration rests on the owners’ shoulders—to spread the customs and traditions of Chinese weddings to future generations, so as to keep them alive.
“It is important to keep these traditions alive because it goes back to our roots,” affirms Michelle.
Also, following the traditional customs makes the entire wedding more symbolic and meaningful. The ‘tea serving ceremony 敬茶’ is one important example.
“The tea serving ceremony signifies filial piety (Chinese: 孝, xiào), a virtue of respect for one’s parents, elders, and ancestors. The couple also do this in the hope that in the future, their children will also fulfil their filial obligation towards them,” Michelle explains.
“Most of the youngsters would still agree to carry out the customs because they want a blissful marriage,” Michelle says.
The tea serving ceremony signifies filial piety (Chinese: 孝, xiào), a virtue of respect for one’s parents, elders, and ancestors. (China Photos/Getty Images）
Presenting the Wedding Gifts
‘Presenting the Wedding Gifts’, or ‘Guo Da Li 過大禮’, is the most significant custom in a Chinese wedding. It represents the engagement and promises the groom gives to the bride’s family, and the acceptance of the bride and groom into both families.
‘Presenting the Wedding Gifts’, or ‘Guo Da Li 過大禮’, is the most significant custom in a Chinese wedding. There is an array of elaborate gifts from dowry money, oranges, alcohols, cakes that the groom’s family will bring over to the bride’s family. (Courtesy of The Chinese Wedding Shop)
Michelle says the wedding is only officially confirmed after ‘Presenting the Wedding Gifts’, even though the wedding banquet has been booked.
There is an array of elaborate gifts from dowry money, oranges, alcohols, cakes that the groom’s family will bring over to the bride’s family.
A portion of the dowry money will also be used by the bride’s parents to prepare dowry for their daughter. In addition, the bride’s family has to return half of the gifts to the groom’s family a few days later in the ‘Return the Gifts 回禮’ ceremony, to show their appreciation to the groom’s family.
In olden days, brides will also hand-sew shoes or clothing for the groom as gifts.
In modern days, the exchange and returning of gifts are all done within a day, usually two weeks or a month before the wedding day, when the families are distributing wedding invitation cards and cakes to their relatives.
“Even if one side is non-Chinese, they will still follow the customs. That is how rooted our traditions and customs are,” Michelle avows.
The Chinese Wedding Gifts – Food Items
Michelle elucidates the dowry items in detail, right down to the bamboo baskets that contain these gifts.
Interestingly, different food items presented in the wedding gifts vary in accordance to the different dialect groups.
|Hokkien||1. The Hokkien Mi Lao Ma Lao Biscuits 福建米老麻老饼
2. Hokkien Prosperity Biscuits – Fujian Bashe Bing (containing 8 different types of biscuits)
3. Cans of Pork Legs in box
|Teochew||1. Teochew Peanuts & Sesame Candy 潮州芝麻花生糖, which represent a good and sweet beginning and ending (甜頭甜尾).
2. Teochew Prosperity Biscuits Liuse bing (6 types of biscuits)
3. Cans of Pork Legs in box
|Cantonese/ Hakka||1. Cantonese / Hakka Prosperity Biscuits 广东/ 客家6 色饼
|Hainanese||1. Hainanese Gin Dei 海南金叠
These biscuits are distributed to the relatives.
All these auspicious food items are presented using the bamboo baskets.
“The more tiers there are, the richer they are. For example, if they use a 3-tier basket for the gifts, it signifies they will be living in a 3-storey flat in the future,” shares Michelle.
She points out that in Teochew custom, they use a straw betrothal basket with painted pomegranate. Pomegranate was considered an emblem of fertility in the olden days.
As for other dialect groups, they will place the dowry items in a ‘black and red’ betrothal basket.
Hokkien and Teochew families also give cans of pork legs in a box. As for the Cantonese, Hakka and Hainanese, the groom will deliver a roast pig to the bride’s family on the wedding day itself.
“The cans of pork legs represent the wealth 富貴 of the groom’s family, as in the ancient times, only the rich could afford to eat meat,” says Michelle. “The roast pig represents the virginity of the bride. Nowadays, the roast pig just signifies that the groom’s family is pleased with the bride.”
“Last time, the bride will return the roast pig when she visits her family with her husband during ‘Returning Home (三朝回门)’. But nowadays, it all happens on the wedding day itself,” she adds.
The Different Dowry Items and Their Meanings
Each of the dowry items has their auspicious meaning, symbolising well-wishes for the bride and groom. They are basically necessities, such as traditional household items, for the couple to start a new family.
Due to lifestyle changes, many of the dowry items like dressing table and sewing machine have become obsolete. Instead, many items have been replaced by miniature replica.
“The sewing machine has been replaced by a sewing box set in modern days,” says Michelle. “Nowadays, we replace the big-sized wooden clog with miniature clogs, which are placed on the bed to symbolise ‘rising steadily for future successes’ 步步高升.”
The dowry items also include a tea set and a bowl set.
The tea set is to be used at the groom’s house for the wedding tea ceremony. The bowl set is purchased by the bride’s family for the groom’s family to serve ‘tang yuan’ (glutinous rice dumplings in sweet soup), signifying a ‘happy and complete marriage圓圓滿滿’ for the couple.
The most significant dowry item in a Chinese wedding is the baby prosperity set 子孙桶, which include a baby bath tub, potty, face washbasin, mug, ruler, and five element seeds.
“The seeds represent that the couple will be blessed with abundance (五谷丰收) and many children 早生貴子. All these seeds are placed in a potty. The ruler signifies ‘measuring the land 量田量地’, that the couple will be blessed with many assets.”
The dowry items prepared by the bride’s family include a tea set, bowl set, and baby prosperity set 子孙桶. (Courtesy of The Chinese Wedding Shop)
Other dowry items include:
|Umbrella||Hokkien, Cantonese, Hainanese and Hakka people will use an umbrella on the wedding day to shelter the bride. It symbolises a good shelter for the rest of her life.|
|Fan||For Teochews, when the car is moving off from the bride’s house, the bride will toss away a fan. It signifies throwing away her bad habits.
The bride will bring another fan and handkerchief to the groom’s house. It signifies having bountiful offsprings 開枝散葉.
|Charcoal||It symbolises earning big money and that the groom has money to take care of the bride in the future.|
|2 pairs of chopsticks||It represents a union of two persons成雙成對.|
|Wedding lamps||They are placed on the left-hand side of the bed to symbolise carrying on the bloodline, and guiding them with a bright future.|
|2 bottles of orange juice||It signifies ‘good luck 大吉大利’ and ‘happy forever 甜甜蜜蜜’.|
|Towels||The towels are given to the couple to wish them ‘living to an old age in marital bliss 白頭偕老’.|
|Double Happiness ‘囍’ stickers||The stickers are pasted around the couple’s new home to represent love, happiness, and luck.|
|Jewellery||In Teochew custom, ‘Four points of gold’ (Si Dian Jin 四点金) are presented by the groom’s parents to the bride. It typically comprise a pair of earrings, a necklace, bangle or bracelet, and pendant or ring.
In Cantonese and Hakka custom, the bride is given a pair of Dragon-Phoenix Bangles.
The Hokkiens will give a pair of gold bangles.
What happens to these dowry items after the wedding?
Michelle advises the couple to keep the dowry items till their children have grown up.
For instance, she says, the tea set used at the tea ceremony at the bride’s house is actually handed down by the bride’s mother from her own wedding.
“You will be surprised that a lot of mothers still keep their tea sets!” she enthuses.
This Chinese character, denoting double happiness, is a common wedding decoration in red. It is a good luck symbol for wedded bliss. (theepochtimes.com)
The customs in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia
To our bewilderment, according to Michelle, the mainland Chinese do not have much knowledge about these Chinese wedding customs, “as these traditions have been destroyed after the Cultural Revolution”.
“If you ask those living in Mainland China, most probably, they won’t know about the customs either,” explains Michelle, who learned about this through her suppliers from China.
Sadly, “[in] today’s China, the betrothal gifts and dowry are cash and car. And they will distribute sweets, cigarettes and matches,” she reveals.
As a matter of fact, overseas Chinese, such as those from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia, are more traditional and retain these wedding customs better than the Mainland Chinese.
For instance, she says, “In Singapore, we will rent the Chinese traditional wedding dress – Kua 群褂 , which costs around a few thousand dollars, whereas in Hong Kong, they will have to buy the elaborate kua and keep it.”
The Three Letters and Six Etiquettes in a Traditional Chinese Wedding
In ancient China, a marriage ceremony is a solemn and sacred occasion.
Hence, there is a custom of Three Letters and Six Etiquettes (三书六礼). It refers to the six steps that people follow in traditional Chinese wedding.
The Three Letters consist of Betrothal Letter (聘书), Gift Letter (礼书), and Wedding Letter (迎亲书). (http://www.983invitation.com)
But the steps have now been reduced to four, namely, Presenting the Wedding Gifts (过大礼), Bed Setting (安床), Hair Combing (上头) and The Wedding Ceremony (结婚正日) in the modern days.
Traditionally, the Three Letters consist of Betrothal Letter (聘书), Gift Letter (礼书), and Wedding Letter (迎亲书) while the Six Etiquettes are Proposal (纳采), Birthday Conciliation (问名), Betrothal Gifts (纳吉), Wedding Gifts (纳征), Choosing the Date (请期) and the Ceremony (迎亲).
Traditionally, the bed setting ritual is carried out by the matchmaker or an auspicious person (好命人) the night before the wedding day.(http://www.twoeggz.com/)
The Steps and Significance of Bed Setting and Hair Combing
Bed Setting (安床)
In the past, an auspicious time and date is chosen for bed setting and it is usually held between three days to one week before the wedding. In modern times, the Chinese are more lax in following the auspicious timing due to their hectic schedules.
Traditionally, the bed setting ritual is carried out by the matchmaker or an auspicious person (好命人) the night before the wedding day.
Now, the ritual is usually carried out by the groom’s parents.
In the past, the groom’s family will buy the bed while the bride’s family purchases the bedsheet, pillows, and bolster. Nowadays, free pillow and bolster sets are provided when buying the bed. Hence, the bride’s family only needs to prepare a new quilt cover set.
To do the ritual, the bedsheet has to be changed first and a tray is placed in the middle of the bed. On the tray, there will be an even number of oranges, one packet of sweet candy, red dates, lily bulbs, lotus seeds, walnut peanut, dried melon slice, pine tree lead, dried tangerine, dried longan from the gift box, and a red packet containing $8 to symbolise prosperity.
Setting up Matrimonial Bed 安床 (An Chuang) (Courtesy of The Chinese Wedding Shop)
The packet of sweet candy is given to the kids who help to roll on the bed (压床), signifying blessing the couple with fertility.
12 packets of ‘destiny coins’ that symbolise a better relationship between the families and their kids in the future are placed at the four corners of the bed and four corners of the wardrobes.
Two packets of ‘destiny coins’ are placed in the two pillowcases and another two packets are placed in the drawers.
Hair Combing (上头)
The hair combing ceremony signified that the bride and groom have grown up and are now adults.
In the past, the ceremony was more complicated with rice bucket, candles and scissors required. Nowadays, the steps have been simplified.
Hair combing is now carried out the night before the wedding at the respective homes of the bride and groom. Ruler, mirror and comb are required.
Hair Combing Ritual 上头 (Shang Tou) (http://cultureguru.my/)
An auspicious person will comb the bride’s and groom’s hair and read out these lucky phrases with each stroke of the comb:
May your marriage last for a lifetime （一梳梳到尾）
May you be blessed with a happy and harmonious marriage until old age （二梳百年好合）
May you be blessed with an abundance of children and grandchildren （三梳子孙满堂）May you be blessed with longevity （四梳白发齐眉）
This ceremony is carried out by all dialect groups with the Teochew and Cantonese placing more emphasis on it as they are more elaborated when performing the ritual. They feel that the ritual is important.
For some of the Teochews who have had the ceremony during their coming-of-age ceremony (成年礼), they are not required to do it again.
For those who do not go through this ritual, it is believed that the bride and groom should still buy the items required and have them displayed at her dressing table for a successful marriage. The items should not be given away or passed to others except her daughter, but it can be stored away after a week.
Hair combing set (https://www.goldenweddingstore.com/)
Chinese men have to pay up to $24,000 to get a bride — Quartz
China’s recent crackdown on luxury goods may be overlooking a wildly popular big-ticket item: brides.
Shanghai grooms typically have to pay their would-be wives a “bride price,” which starts at 100,000 yuan ($16,300). That’s according to a national map (registration required) of bride prices—a kind of reverse-dowry in which men pay a woman and her family in order to marry her. The map, which was created by the Chongqing divisions of Vanke, a real estate company, and Sina’s real estate channel, has sparked debate around the nation about how the bride price tradition reflects an obsession with materialism and makes it hard for young Chinese couples to start families.
Because it’s difficult for men of normal means to meet the expected bride prices, many of them simply cannot afford wives. Though Shanghai had the highest bride price, in most provinces it fell in the range of $9,780 to $13,000 range, and many online commenters said the map underestimated the standard bride price (link in Chinese). The average annual income, by contrast, is about $9,300.
The tradition was originally conceived to provide for the bride’s aging parents, since she would presumably be caring for her husband’s parents as they aged. But though that’s no longer a worry, many brides and their families still expect suitors to shell out, viewing male income as a barometer of marriageability.
Even beyond stated bride prices, to be considered eligible for marriage, men are usually expected to buy a house—”build a nest to attract a phoenix,” as the saying goes. China’s skyrocketing real estate prices make that an increasingly burdensome requirement: a 100 square-meter apartment in Shanghai costs around $400,000 these days.
China’s worsening gender gap may be perpetuating the tradition. In theory, the scarcity of young women (link in Chinese) means that potential brides can be choosier. But, in fact, some of the highest bride prices are actually found in areas where the gender gap is less acute than the national average—Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces—and in relatively poor areas like Qinghai. That’s because local customs typically outweigh economics.
Custom also explains the variation in items on the bride price list. Take Shaanxi province, where the going bride rate starts at $5,000, plus five quilts, three pieces of gold jewelry, and three of silver. Numerology, meanwhile, accounts the prevalence of Inner Mongolia’s livestock given in multiples of nine and all the 8’s in the bride prices of Guangxi.
Many online commentators complain that the tradition’s utility is now obsolete and that it puts undue strain on young men. One man told Xinhua that he had to save for five years and take out loans from relatives to pay the $13,000 his fiancee’s parents demanded (link in Chinese). But he and his bride are luckier than some: Pressure to meet parents’ bride-price have often drives couples apart (link in Chinese).
It’s not hard to see why many men online proposed searching for brides in Chongqing. Because people there marry earlier, before they start making money (link in Chinese), the bride price is $0.
Top 10 Chinese Wedding Q&A
From choosing an auspicious wedding date to finding a good menu for Chinese and Western guests, we’ve got answers to your most important etiquette questions.
Q. Is there a special hour when a Chinese couple should exchange vows?
A. Chinese tradition says that couples should marry on the half hour so that they begin their new life on an upswing — when the hands of the clock are moving up toward the top instead of down and away from it. As for which half hour you choose, well, that’s up to you! Another guideline to keep in mind is using even numbers in your wedding date and time (even numbers are considered lucky).
Q. How do we go about finding an auspicious wedding date?
A. Most couples have a “lucky” person (perhaps someone with a happy marriage and family) consult the Chinese calendar to pick out a good date. To determine the lucky days, the bride and groom’s birth dates and birth hours are taken into consideration. Because your date might fall on a weekday, it’s best not to stress over getting married on the actual lucky day. Keep in mind though, there are some days considered unlucky — your fortune-teller (in consultation with the Chinese calendar) can help determine which days are a definite don’t.
Q. Which traditional Chinese dishes will appeal to both our Chinese and Western guests’ tastes?
A. Serving traditional Chinese dishes is a wonderful way to celebrate your heritage at your reception. And since most Chinese dishes are prepared with Western ingredients in the States, you can be sure to appeal to most guests’ tastes. A favorite for Chinese weddings is Peking duck. (It’s a red dish symbolizing joy and happiness). You can serve the duck with lobster too (serving the dish whole, with head and legs still attached, would symbolize completeness). For your side salad, include sea cucumbers, thought to symbolize harmony and lack of conflict between newlyweds.
Q. As a guest at a Chinese wedding, is there anything special I should bring for the bride and groom?
A. You could bring the couple a lucky red envelope (lai see) with money tucked inside. Traditionally at Chinese weddings the couple is given “lucky money” rather than gifts. Of course, your couple has likely also registered at a few stores — and it’s perfectly acceptable to purchase a gift for them off their registry in lieu of a red envelope.
Q. Are there any Chinese wedding vows that we can incorporate into our ceremony?
A. Actions speak louder than words at Chinese weddings. It is customary for the bride and groom to honor their ancestors, parents, and each other in the form of a bow (rather than speak vows to one another).
Q. I know that red is the traditional color for the Chinese wedding dress but would it be okay to wear a different color?
A. Yes! These days, Chinese and Chinese-American brides are going beyond the traditional color attire in order to better suit their personalities. We’ve seen pale pink, aqua blue, gold, and silver, just to name a few. For added flair, get a dress with a slightly different top. Rather than short sleeves, you could have your qipao custom-made and sewn into a sleeveless gown with a halter top.
Q. What are “bridesmaid door games”?
A. These games are based on the Chinese tradition where the groom, upon arriving at the bride’s house to take her to the wedding ceremony, is greeted by the bride’s “protective” friends. Before they allow him to enter the house to fetch his bride, the groom has to perform physical feats (such as push-ups), answer difficult questions, and even pay off the girls with a lucky red envelope filled with money. Some couples still play bridesmaid games today: a modern day version could be for the bride and her maids to gather their hands together and ask the groom pick out his bride’s hand from the bunch.
Q. In traditional Chinese weddings, the groom’s side is supposed to pay for the wedding. But in the States, the bride’s family is expected to pay. Who should pay for our Chinese-American wedding?
A. These days, like a Western wedding, it’s all about what works best for you. Before you make any decisions, sit down with both sets of parents individually to determine expectations and budgets. You may decide to split the cost between your two families, or into thirds so that you as a couple foot a portion of the bill as well.
Q. Our wedding will take place in the morning and our reception in the afternoon. Since our tea ceremony is private, we are not sure what to do with our guests during this time. We don’t want to have a cocktail hour because we feel like it would be too early for alcohol, what’s an alternative?
A. Have a tea hour! While you’re serving tea to your parents and elders, let your guests in on a bit of tradition by offering tea and small hors d’oeuvres, such as small sandwiches and fruit kabobs, in a separate location.
Q. What is the meaning behind a Chinese lion dance and how can I have one at my wedding?
A. The Chinese lion dance dates back 1,000 years to the Ch’in and Han dynasties. The decorative lions, which typically dance and perform acrobatic-like moves to the sounds of drums, gongs, and clashing cymbals, are an expression of joy and happiness. Depending on your style and budget, you could have the dancers perform at the reception or the tea ceremony. If you are hosting a rather high-end affair, you could even have a group of lion dancers escort you, your bridal party, and your guests from the ceremony to the reception site in your own mini parade!
— Anja Winikka
90,000 As a wedding in China. Chinese wedding ⋆ ChinaGates.info ⋆
Wedding traditions in China
- Red dress.
Red color in China is a symbol of Chinese holidays, it is appropriate absolutely everywhere, wedding is no exception. In three days, three red dresses need to be changed.
Bride and groom in traditional red dress
- Chinese horoscope.
It is made up by the parents of the groom / bride, sometimes this responsibility is entrusted to specialists.
- Ransom of the bride.
The groom must give the amount of money to the bride’s parents (the amount is indicated by the bride’s parents).
- Red envelope (in Chinese 红包, read hóngbāo).
Hongbao is a traditional red envelope with a sum of money, the Chinese give it for any holidays and celebrations.
- The ceremony lasts three days.
During this time, everyone can come to the house where they celebrate the wedding and eat.
These are, perhaps, the most basic traditions that have been observed from century to century, which have come down to our days.
Chinese bride’s dowry
The groom’s family must send a letter to the bride’s family asking for the bride’s dowry to decorate the room. If there is no dowry, then the wedding will not take place. The bride’s family in response should send a dowry, the quality of the dowry and the quantity will determine the status of the bride in the family of the future husband. According to tradition, the dowry includes scissors that look like two butterflies, they symbolize the warmth in the house.A vase is sent, it represents a symbol of peace, a pot of fruit that means fertility, and coins that speak of rich prosperity.
How does a family start in China?
Before any wedding, a marriage proposal follows.
After the proposal is accepted, the groom notifies his parents and they draw up a Chinese horoscope (for this you need to know the birthday of the bride and groom, who they are according to the horoscope (what animal) and what day and time he / she was born, time not necessary.
Then, when all the data has been sent to the parents, the betrothed go to the registry office and sign, where they receive a marriage certificate.
Red marriage certificate in China, in Chinese 结婚 证
After painting, the spouses go to a local photo salon and order professional wedding photos there (with outfits and decorations).
After all the nuances, preparations for the wedding begin.
Features of makeup and dress for brides in China – photo
The bride had to start preparations the day before the wedding – on the eve of the celebration, the girl removed all hair from her face and applied a thick layer of powder, which created a semblance of an unnatural mask.The image was complemented by bright red lipstick and black arrows. Modern brides do not always respect old traditions and prefer discreet makeup, slightly emphasizing the eyes and highlighting the lips.
Preparation for the wedding
The main participant in the celebration is red, which means that all decorations, dishes, gifts, attire will be red (The attire of the bride and groom can be of other colors, recently the Chinese have begun to adhere to the European style ).
Usually Chinese spouses order all jewelry from Taobao (dishes, cups, paper cups).
Relatives of the bride and groom decorate their homes in red.
Decorated house doors before the wedding
A prerequisite will be to make a gift to the guests, the spouses buy candies in red or pink wrappers. These candies can be bought at any local store in China.
They also order a limousine or other expensive car for close relatives and witnesses, operators and photographers.
After all the necessary things have been bought, the spouses start buying furniture for arranging the house of the husband’s parents.
Yes, in China it is traditionally accepted that if there is a girl in the family, then she must leave her parents’ house and move to her husband’s house with her belongings and furniture. If for some reason the furniture cannot be transported, then in this case the spouses buy a new one.
Traditionally, in a parent’s house where there are boys, there is always an extra room or floor that must be empty until the son gets married.
This ancient custom means that with the arrival of a new mistress of the house and new furniture, the life of the spouses will be happy.
Chinese wedding now
The modern Chinese wedding has undergone significant changes. New fashion trends have left their mark on the appearance of newlyweds and wedding celebrations, but the tribute to the ancestors and some traditions have remained unchanged.
Today, young people choose their second half, but still heed the advice of older relatives.And still the faith in the horoscopes remains strong, without which almost no marriage can take place.
The guy makes a proposal to his beloved, after which they turn to astrologers who calculate compatibility and the ideal time to conclude an alliance. On the chosen day, the couple signs, and the celebration for the guests is usually scheduled for a day off, so that it is convenient for everyone to witness the birth of a new unit of society.
Preparations for a significant event have been going on for several months.Perhaps her most beloved part is numerous photo sessions for a wedding album, which are accompanied by a change of images, costumes, scenery, landscapes, panoramas.
Thousands of captured shots are retouched, selected to decorate the stand at the door of the restaurant and the marital bedroom, recalling the pleasant pre-wedding chores.
Today’s brides more and more often put on white, cream or milk wedding dresses, covered with a lush snow-white veil.But still, red accessories, symbolizing success, must certainly be present. These can be shoes, jewelry, ribbons, garters.
The groom’s suit is also becoming classic European. But a change of outfits is welcomed – during the evening, the newlyweds can change three outfits, and they also do not bypass traditional Chinese costumes.
Palanquins with porters have been replaced by comfortable red or white cars decorated with the characters of happiness.After the groom picks up the bride from the parental home, the whole procession goes to the ceremony. It can take place both in the temple and at the home of a young man.
This is interesting!
The attitude to religion in China is peculiar – a Buddhist monk, a Taoist priest and a Christian preacher can be invited to the wedding at the same time. They perform religious rituals for a strong family.
An indispensable part of the ceremony is the oath of the newlyweds.They kneel down, bowing to their families, gods and each other. The oath is followed by a tea ceremony, during which the girl treats her new husband’s relatives to tea. In response, she is presented with jewelry, money in a red package.
In the evening after the wedding ceremony, all the invitees go to the restaurant to heartily celebrate the union of two hearts. Relatives, friends, colleagues, bosses, influential acquaintances are invited, who sit in a certain order relative to the main table.
Official congratulations, wishes of happiness to young people and monetary gifts are replaced by general fun. Curiously, the Chinese almost never dance, and weddings are no exception. But their favorite pastime is karaoke.
Even at the most modest wedding, the table boasts a rich menu. Waiters barely have time to change dishes, the number of which reaches twelve. And even different types of snacks, hot dishes, soup from fish, poultry, seafood, meat, vegetables, delicacies like a shark – all this pales against the background of the giant size of the cake!
By the end of the evening, tired but happy spouses should thank everyone who came in person.This is how the first day of the life of a Chinese family ends, and ahead is family life, which seems to the newlyweds for an eternity – happy and rosy.
Official Wedding Ceremony in China
As we said earlier, the Chinese ceremony may differ depending on the budget of the groom and the province.
On the first day of the ceremony, the groom must arrive by car with witnesses to the bride’s house.
In some provinces, it is customary for the bride to cry when she is taken by the groom, thereby expressing affection for her parents and the home where she grew up.
The groom must go to the bride’s house, bow three times to the bride’s ancestors (each house has an altar with photographs of the ancestors) and the bride’s parents, sitting on their knees (the parents sit with the bride on the sofa).
Altar of ancestors in China
After that, the groom gets up and takes the bride by the hand, as soon as they come to the threshold, the groom must pick up the bride and carry her on his back to the car.
When the bride and groom arrive at the groom’s house, guests and the groom’s parents are waiting for them.
Before entering the groom’s house, the newlyweds bow together, then enter the house and bow three times at the ancestral altar from the groom’s side, then bow to the groom’s parents and serve them a cup of tea (each), the parents hand them red envelopes, the groom’s mother to the bride, the father of the groom to the groom.
After that, everyone gets up, the guests applaud, and on this it is considered that the bride and groom have become lawful spouses.
As soon as the spouses are married, they go out into the street and go to their new house (we said above that before the wedding you need to equip a room or floor or a whole house).
Before entering a new house, the husband lifts his wife on his back and they go to their chambers with friends and relatives.
They go into a decorated bedroom and sit on the bed (before that, children should play on the bed, which symbolizes the presence of children in the family in the future for the newlyweds.
The spouses sit on the bed for a few minutes, then get up and go down to all the guests.
Pre-wedding Chinese traditions
The Chinese are an Asian nation with its own culture, which is very different from the European one and, accordingly, with its own customs and traditions.
Matchmaking in China takes place in several stages:
- Fortune telling by a card.
Before the matchmaking, a young Chinese man sends the girl he wants to see as his bride a card with information about himself. There are only eight hieroglyphs written on the card.
The card contains information about the name and surname of the groom, the date and time of his birth. This information is needed to conduct astrological divination for the compatibility of the alleged union.
If the marriage promises to be successful, then the same card about the bride is sent to the groom. The card has been in the house for three days.
During this time, nothing bad should happen, and if everything goes well, then the parents agree to the marriage of the young.
- Matchmaking and marriage contract.
After fortune-telling by the card, when “the stars gave their approval” for marriage, you can get married. For this event, the groom’s family invites a matchmaker who will have to visit the bride’s house.
When visiting the bride’s house, the exact date and time of the bride’s birth is set.
To draw up an astrological chart and accurately predict the fate of the upcoming union.
In China, as in Russia, there are small ethnic groups whose traditions and customs may differ slightly from each other, but the general cycle and essence of all pre-wedding and wedding rituals is the same.
For example, among the Chinese people Blang, the matchmaker is sent to the bride’s house with cigarettes and a pack of tea, this is a gift.
It is customary in China to draw up a marriage contract. The marriage contract is a red sheet of paper on which the young people write their mutual marriage obligations. Also, the marriage contract contains information about the young and their families, as well as the amount of the ransom.
- Select wedding date.
Asians, with their culture, lifestyle and beliefs, took their wedding date seriously.
To do this, they involve a specialist who makes a map of the starry sky and, based on it, suggests the most suitable dates for a wedding.
It is believed that an incorrectly chosen date promises an unhappy family life for a young couple. After the date is selected, it is communicated to the guests.
- Mourning. There is an interesting tradition in the Chinese wedding ceremony – mourning the loss of relatives. The bottom line is that before getting married, a Chinese girl must mourn the loss of her family.
The Chinese are very reverent and responsible for the institution of marriage. For this ceremony, the bride and her close relatives go to some special place, where the girl is given time to say goodbye to her relatives.
This ceremony is sad and very touching.
Wedding traditions in China – how the celebration goes
Hello, dear readers – seekers of knowledge and truth!
We continue to study Asian countries and get acquainted with their people, culture and civilization. Moving mentally in time and space, we have already studied many customs of different nationalities. And today we invite you to talk about wedding traditions in China.
Chinese wedding before
Chinese wedding now
The Celestial Empire has a long history, and each of its provinces to some extent followed its own path of development.Needless to say, even different parts of the same region have special, distinctive traditions here. They are united by one thing – an inextricable connection with the past, an incredible wedding spectacle, a touching ceremony and outfits of extraordinary beauty.
We can talk endlessly about Chinese weddings. Today’s article will briefly tell about how weddings took place before, and how it is happening now, where the newlyweds celebrate the main day in their lives, what ancient customs are observed to this day and what imprint has been imposed on wedding rituals by modern fashion.
Chinese wedding before
A wedding is a wonderful event in the life of young people. Preparations for it begin long before the celebration itself.
In ancient China, the father chose the bride for his son, based on personal preferences and the position of the girl’s family in society. After the final choice, it was not without the services of a matchmaker, whose skills promised half of the success in such a difficult matter.
A matchmaker with gifts appeared at the bride’s house to convey the desire of the groom’s parents to marry their son, and at the same time find out everything about the girl, her parents, brothers and sisters: names, surnames, dates of birth.These data helped to draw up a compatibility horoscope and, if everything went well, choose the date for the upcoming celebration.
It often happened that the wedding could take place only after a couple of years, because the stars suggested that. Only after the date was announced, the future spouse could start dreaming about the wedding, plan, pick up outfits.
Then the young man again sent gifts to his chosen one as a sign of engagement: precious stones, jewelry, gold coins, wedding paraphernalia.She, in turn, had to send a dowry to the house of her future husband. If it was not sent, this could be regarded as a refusal to marry.
The dowry usually included various items of special importance:
- butterfly scissors – symbolized warmth, a hearth in the future dwelling;
- vase – meant calmness, harmony;
- fruit plate – indicated a tendency towards fertility;
- coins – promised material well-being;
- kitchen utensils;
- personal belongings.
An interesting attribute was hung over the front door of both houses – the hieroglyph “si”, which means happiness: for the bride – single, for the groom – double, which meant double happiness that he would bring into the house with the bride. It is curious that this tradition is often revered today.
On the day of the wedding, the future spouse sent for the chosen one a palanquin, elegantly decorated with red cloth, and he himself rode alongside in a motorcade.
Meanwhile, the girl was preparing for the arrival of her betrothed, donning the traditional scarlet outfit.She worked on the face the day before: she removed all hair from the face, including eyelashes and eyebrows. This meant being ready for a new life.
Make-up and powder were generously applied to a smooth face. The eyes were underlined with thick arrows, and the lips – with red lipstick.
A hairstyle was built on the head, which could only be worn by married women, and a headdress in the form of a phoenix, decorated with large beads, was worn on top. It is a pity that such beauty was not visible – a red cape was worn on top, which hid the beauty’s face throughout the day.
Phoenix is a symbol of the feminine principle, while the groom wore a suit with the image of a dragon, a male symbol.
Upon arrival to the chosen one, accompanied by loud music and an explosion of firecrackers, the young man presented gifts again: money in a red envelope, which was a kind of ransom, earrings, bracelets made of precious metals. He knelt with a cup of tea in front of her parents, thus asking for a blessing.
For the bride, it was partly a sad holiday – she said goodbye to her stepfather’s house, to relatives, mourned her past life and did not skimp on tears.Later, having seated herself in a palanquin, she, accompanied by a wedding cortege, went to her husband’s house, which would soon become her home too.
Here young people were also greeted with music, firecrackers, fireworks – this custom not only reflected the wave of general fun – it was believed that it also delivered from evil spirits. At the entrance to the groom’s house there was a special altar, in front of which it was necessary to perform a series of rituals, to make offerings to various deities.
The ceremony necessarily took place in the second half of the hour, that is, when the minute hand crosses the thirty-minute line and begins to rise up the dial.This custom is due to the fact that a new family should be born on the rise.
After the proper ceremonies, the newlyweds drank sweet wine, joined their hands, tied them with a red thread – from that time on, the woman was inextricably linked with the man. The celebration ended with folk festivities, plentiful feasts, fun, games.
Only at the end of the evening, the newly-made husband could throw back the veil that hides his wife’s face and see him.
Throughout the wedding day, the spouse could not say a word – according to beliefs, this helped her soon give birth to heirs.So the girl was just a “silent doll” at her own celebration.
An important role in the formation of the family was played by the family bed and its preparation, which was usually done by a parent with many children – a very successful person in the understanding of the Chinese. He scattered grain, nuts, fruits on the bed so that the firstborn would appear in the family as soon as possible. For greater effect, children could frolic on the bed.
Chinese wedding now
The modern Chinese wedding has undergone significant changes.New fashion trends have left their mark on the appearance of newlyweds and wedding celebrations, but the tribute to the ancestors and some traditions have remained unchanged.
Today, young people choose their second half, but still heed the advice of older relatives. And still the faith in the horoscopes remains strong, without which almost no marriage can take place.
The guy makes a proposal to his beloved, after which they turn to astrologers who calculate compatibility and the ideal time to conclude an alliance.On the chosen day, the couple signs, and the celebration for the guests is usually scheduled for a day off, so that it is convenient for everyone to witness the birth of a new unit of society.
Preparations for a significant event have been going on for several months. Perhaps her most beloved part is numerous photo sessions for a wedding album, which are accompanied by a change of images, costumes, scenery, landscapes, panoramas.
Thousands of captured shots are retouched, selected to decorate the stand at the door of the restaurant and the marital bedroom, recalling the pleasant pre-wedding chores.
Today’s brides more and more often put on white, cream or milk wedding dresses, covered with a lush snow-white veil. But still, red accessories, symbolizing success, must certainly be present. These can be shoes, jewelry, ribbons, garters.
The groom’s suit is also becoming classic European. But a change of outfits is welcomed – during the evening, the newlyweds can change three outfits, and they also do not bypass traditional Chinese costumes.
Palanquins with porters have been replaced by comfortable red or white cars decorated with the characters of happiness. After the groom picks up the bride from the parental home, the whole procession goes to the ceremony. It can take place both in the temple and at the home of a young man.
This is interesting! The attitude to religion in China is peculiar – a Buddhist monk, a Taoist priest and a Christian preacher can be invited to the wedding at the same time.They perform religious rituals for a strong family.
An indispensable part of the ceremony is the oath of the newlyweds. They kneel down, bowing to their families, gods and each other. The oath is followed by a tea ceremony, during which the girl treats her new husband’s relatives to tea. In response, she is presented with jewelry, money in a red package.
In the evening after the wedding ceremony, all the invitees go to the restaurant to heartily celebrate the union of two hearts.Relatives, friends, colleagues, bosses, influential acquaintances are invited, who sit in a certain order relative to the main table.
Official congratulations, wishes of happiness to young people and monetary gifts are replaced by general fun. Curiously, the Chinese almost never dance, and weddings are no exception. But their favorite pastime is karaoke.
Even at the most modest wedding, the table boasts a rich menu. Waiters barely have time to change dishes, the number of which reaches twelve.And even different types of snacks, hot dishes, soup from fish, poultry, seafood, meat, vegetables, delicacies like a shark – all this pales against the background of the giant size of the cake!
By the end of the evening, tired but happy spouses should thank everyone who came in person. This is how the first day of the life of a Chinese family ends, and ahead is family life, which seems to the newlyweds for an eternity – happy and rosy.
Thank you very much for your attention, dear readers! May love, happiness and prosperity never leave you.
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Until next time!
A Chinese wedding is a complex ritual that involves many formalities: marriage proposal, checking the horoscope for compatibility of the bride and groom, engagement, choosing the date of the wedding in accordance with the horoscope, sending a dowry and a solemn ceremony.
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Matchmaking in China
The groom’s family invites the matchmaker and instructs her to officially visit the bride’s house to find out her name and date of birth. Accurate information is needed by an astrologer, who will draw up a horoscope and check whether these people can get married, and what the fate of this marriage may be.
Among some ethnic minorities in China, for example, among the Blang people, matchmakers are sent to the bride’s house with a packet of tea and cigarettes as gifts.
If the couple is compatible and both families agree to the marriage, the groom’s family sends the engagement gifts. These typically include clothing, jewelry, gold, silver, and cash.
Among the gifts should be a gilded silver coin with the inscription “qiu” (which means “offer”).
The bride’s family sends back another coin labeled “yun” (which means “agree”).Thus, the consent to the marriage is confirmed.
Select wedding date
The groom’s parents invite a fortune teller to choose a wedding date, and both families begin to prepare for the ceremony. It is very important to choose an auspicious day, as the Chinese believe that the wrong date can lead to unhappiness. After the wedding day has been determined, the bride’s future relatives are informed about it.
The groom’s family sends a letter urging to send the girl’s dowry for the wedding room decoration, otherwise the wedding will not take place.
The bride’s family sends a dowry, the quantity and quality of which will determine the girl’s future status in the husband’s family. The traditional dowry includes scissors in the shape of two butterflies, which are inseparable and symbolize joy and warmth; a vase as a symbol of peace; a pot filled with various fruits (symbol of fertility) and coins (wealth and prosperity).
Wedding Day in China
On the wedding day, the bride arrives at the groom’s house. The wedding procession is accompanied by fireworks, explosions of firecrackers, games and fun.The ride resembles a noisy and joyful show. During wedding processions, the dancing of the lion or the Chinese unicorn is usually performed, symbolizing good luck, prosperity, business reputation and goodwill.
At the bride’s house, the groom receives a pair of chopsticks, which have a hidden meaning – “to have sons faster.”
When the bride goes to the groom’s house, symbols of fertility – rice and grain – are scattered in front of her. Traditional Chinese bronze mirrors are attached to the back of the bride to protect her from evil spirits.
In ancient times, shoes and a bronze mirror were considered a traditional gift for a Chinese wedding, since the combination of these words in the Chinese language has a favorable meaning “together and in harmony.”
When crossing the threshold of the groom’s house, the bride steps over the saddle, which is pronounced in Chinese the same way as the word “peace”.
As soon as the bride enters the house, the couple begins to make formal obeisances, which are called “obeisances to Heaven and Earth.” They are necessary in order to obtain the approval of marriage from the gods, ancestors, as well as from parents, the older generation, all relatives and neighbors.
After this ritual, the couple enters the bridal chamber.
The marriage bed is made the day before the wedding by a person of “luck” (having many children). Auspicious symbols are placed on the bed:
- dates (which means “soon”),
- peanuts (“birth”),
- chestnuts (“sons”),
- pomegranates (“fertility”),
- lotus seeds (“continuous birth”),
- bran (“rich son”),
- other fruits.
Children are allowed to play on the bed.
Newlyweds drink a ritual marriage drink – wine and honey from two cups tied with a red cord. It is a symbol that the God of Marriage has tied the couple together with an invisible red silk thread.
The ceremony ends, but friends and relatives celebrate and do not leave until late at night.
The modern Chinese wedding has undergone some changes and began to combine Western and Eastern traditions. Now, as a rule, the bride chooses a wedding dress that can be made according to both Chinese tradition and purely Western style.Most often, the choice is made in favor of the traditional red Chinese dress with many rich decorations. Red is considered the most festive and joyful color in China.
A photographer is invited to the wedding, and the wedding photographs are then hung on the walls as decoration, so that they serve as a reminder of happiness.
In ancient times, the bride used to go to the groom’s house in a carriage or rickshaw. Now they are using a car. The “wedding” car is decorated not only with flowers, but also with red letters “happiness” on the windows.During the wedding dinner, friends and relatives get together to congratulate the newlyweds and present red envelopes with money. The Chinese attach great importance to the wedding banquet and regard it as an important ritual for their future happy life. In some places, the celebration lasts 3 days and 3 nights. As in Western countries, this is more a concern of parents than newlyweds.
In the old days, the groom traditionally paid for everything. Today, costs are often split in half among families.
The most stressful part is drawing up the guest list. A Chinese banquet is a grand event that sometimes includes 12 meal changes. The emphasis is on the high cost and quality of food, rather than what the family loves to eat the most. No Chinese wedding banquet is complete without fish. Fish is a symbol of abundance. Good wines and liqueurs are also sure to be served.
Guests are usually seated at a round table so that those sitting next to them know each other.Before the start of the holiday, guests can play different games or take pictures with the bride and groom. When the traditional shark fin soup is served, the most respected man makes a toast to the newlyweds. The bride and groom come to each table and thank the guests for their good wishes.
Friends arrange various pranks for the groom to publicly show his love for the bride. At the end of the banquet, the newlyweds and their relatives always stand at the door and see off each guest.
Modern Chinese couples do not strictly adhere to all traditions and rituals. But in every holiday you can find elements of ancient customs.
Chinese wedding: traditions and rituals
Photos: Chinese Highlights
“In sorrow and joy, in wealth and poverty, in sickness and joy, until death do us part”, the newlyweds all over the world swear every second. What about weddings and marriages in China? EKD, based on numerous Chinese sources and materials in English-language articles, tried to understand the realities of a modern Chinese wedding.
- Marriages in the PRC are concluded in accordance with the 1981 Marriage Law, which enshrines the basic principles of relations between family members: monogamy, equality between men and women, and free marriage. The law establishes the marriageable age: 22 for men and 20 for women.
Just a few decades ago, parental marriages were very common in China. Young people got married only because their parents decided so.It even happened that the newlyweds saw each other for the first time only at their own wedding. Arranged marriages were extremely common. Weddings were organized even before the birth of the child with the consent of the parents.
Today, the traditions of Chinese weddings have changed a lot. Young people now marry those they love. But in order to show their respect for their parents, they need to get official permission from them for the wedding in advance.
Young people must first pay an official visit to their parents.When visiting the girl’s parents, the young man needs to bring gifts. When a girl visits the groom’s house, his parents should also prepare a small gift for her. One of the wedding customs is to prepare a dowry.
Select wedding day
The main condition for a wedding is a well-chosen day, which should symbolize goodness and good energy. The choice of the day for the wedding is based on the Chinese lunar calendar.Often, couples have to wait for the cherished day for several years.
Mourning the loss of loved ones
Chinese wedding has an unusual tradition – mourning the loss of relatives. Before a girl marries, she must mourn the loss of loved ones. The fact is that after the wedding, the girl becomes part of her husband’s family, so the bride is given time so that she can “say goodbye” to her parents and other relatives. At this time, alone with her family, she recalls her childhood and communicates on family topics.
Since the late 1990s, the creation of wedding albums has become extremely popular in China. The album usually consists of many photos of the bride and groom taken in different places in different outfits. Unlike Western wedding photographs, a Chinese wedding album will not contain photographs of the ceremony and wedding itself. At the celebration, guests are offered to view a ready-made portfolio.
The groom comes to the house of the bride’s parents, greets them and shows them all respect.The couple then head to the groom’s parents’ house, where the couple greet his parents together. The bride and groom are accompanied by relatives and friends.
During the wedding ceremony, a young couple kneels down three times, bowing to heaven, earth, parents and the family tablet, and then to each other.
On the wedding day, the groom brings gifts to the bride’s house, wrapped in red cloth, containing gold coins, a pair of earrings and four bracelets.Such a gift symbolizes fertility and marital fidelity.
As a ransom, the groom gives money and other gifts that are determined in advance. After the ransom of the bride, the groom kneels in front of the parents and serves them a cup of tea, which asks for their permission to marry.
The banquet takes place after the wedding. At the banquet, the newlyweds should drink half a glass of wine tied with a ribbon. The newlyweds then change hands and drink the remaining half.According to legend, this will help the newlyweds to love each other long and hard. In some provinces of China, fish is served on the banquet table, which should not be eaten completely. The head, tail and bones of the fish must be left intact. It symbolizes a happy marriage from start to finish.
A wedding banquet in China does not last very long – only a couple of hours, or even less. You will not see any festivities until the morning with songs, contests, dances, familiar to our compatriot.
However, these days many young people try to skip most of these rituals and ceremonies. Some do this because they believe that new generations are not obliged to follow the old traditions, while others refuse traditional marriage because of savings, trying to save more money for future family life.
90,000 Wedding Traditions in China
The Chinese civilization is one of the most ancient in the world.And it is quite difficult to talk about the traditions of marriage in this country. After all, each province, each nationality of China has developed its own wedding rituals and ceremonies over the millennia.
Sometimes they differ significantly from each other. Wedding traditions can be different even among people of the same nationality, if its representatives live in different parts of China (for example, in the south and in the north).
In ancient times, there were many complex ceremonies in China. Almost every action in them was strictly regulated and had a semantic load.
The Six Rites have been known since antiquity, which began with an engagement and ended with a wedding. The essence of these rituals was that at first the groom sent the first present to the bride’s house as a symbol of their engagement. Next, a request was made for the name or surname of the bride, then the groom’s parents notified the girl’s family of their consent to the marriage. After that, another gift was sent to the bride’s house, securing the engagement.
Then the parents of the young man made an inquiry to the bride’s family regarding the auspicious day for the wedding.Only after that did a personal meeting between the bride and the groom take place in her house.
In more detail, these ceremonies looked as follows:
In the old days, a wedding event was not complete without the participation of a good matchmaker. The groom’s father first sent matchmakers to the bride’s house. And if the matchmakers received consent, then other messengers were sent to the girl’s house with gifts.
Then the second ceremony began: the representatives of the groom recognized and recorded in detail the surname and name of the bride’s parents, the date of her birth, as well as the order of seniority in the family among her sisters and brothers.This information was necessary so that the groom’s family could subsequently determine a favorable date for the wedding, as well as draw lots and find out whether the marriage would be happy. If they received a positive result, then they proceeded to the next rite: notifying the bride’s family about this.
Then came the fourth rite, and the groom again sent his gifts to the girl’s house. At the same time, it was important “not to hit your face in the mud,” and the richer the gifts were, the better. Then the groom’s representatives went to the bride’s house to inquire about an auspicious wedding day.In fact, this stage was just a tribute to the girl’s family, since the date of the wedding had already been determined by this moment. For this solemn ceremony, as a rule, an even date was chosen, it symbolized double happiness.
Then the sixth ceremony took place – the wedding itself. And now the groom, having arrived at the bride’s house, could see her for the first time.
In addition to the Six Rites, there were other wedding traditions in China. Many of them are observed today.
At the entrance to the house, a beautifully designed paper plaque was hung with a hieroglyph depicted on it for “happiness.”
The entrance to the bride’s house was decorated with a single hieroglyph. And in front of the entrance to the groom’s house, they hung a double, since they believed that the young man brings the girl to live in the house of his parents, and happiness doubles at the same time.
The bride’s parents were preparing “invitation gifts”. It could be beautiful boxes with sweets and nuts or other tasty things. In addition, they had to prepare a dowry for their daughter for the wedding.
The young man sent a wedding palanquin to the girl’s house, which he personally accompanied. At this time, the bride was dressed in a wedding dress. According to tradition, it was supposed to be red, as this color in China is associated with happiness. The girl’s face was painted, her hair was carefully styled into her hair. The head was decorated with a wedding dress made in the shape of a phoenix.
Phoenix and dragon in China are mythical characters that symbolize man and woman, bride and groom, emperor and empress. The bride’s wedding cape was also decorated with the image of a phoenix, it was also embroidered on the dress.But the dragon served as an ornament on the groom’s clothes. After that, the girl’s head was covered with a special red blanket.
A young man arrived at the house of the bride’s parents to loud explosions of firecrackers and wedding music. He bowed to his wife’s father and mother, presented them gifts, and seated the girl in a prepared palanquin. On the way, the bride was supposed to cry about her home and about her parents, whom she left for the sake of family life. Quite often, the bearers shook and pushed the palanquin too hard to cause the girl to cry.Therefore, the bride often bribed them to protect herself from such actions.
As the wedding procession approached the groom’s house, loud crackers and music were heard again. Bridesmaids helped her get off the palanquin, throwing back the curtain, and then escorted her into the house. At this time, the groom’s friends were busy distributing wedding flowers or images of a hieroglyph meaning “double happiness” to those present. The symbols of the wedding received from young people were pinned to clothes or inserted into the hair.
Next came the bows ceremony. After the command of the wedding manager, the bride and groom bowed to heaven and earth, to their parents, ancestors, and also to each other. The oldest person in the family and guests of the ceremony also had to bow. After that, crossing their arms, the newlyweds drank a cup of wine together, and then tied each other with a long red ribbon. Both of these actions symbolized the fact that from this moment the newlyweds are connected with each other, and now they are one whole.The solemn ceremony ended with a plentiful treat, and only after that the groom, retiring with his betrothed, could throw back the veil and see her face.
In modern China, many of the wedding traditions have been lost or changed in a new way. Globalization has contributed to the integration of many local rituals with European traditions. At the same time, a new approach to the wedding ceremony was formed, according to which there is no such strict regulation in it. However, a certain regularity in the conduct of the ceremony is still visible.The splendor and scope of the ceremony depends on the financial situation of the families of the bride and groom.
The wedding is usually held not on the day of registration, but on a convenient date (holiday or weekend).
There are many Catholics and Protestants living in modern China who perform wedding ceremonies in temples. Recently, however, Catholic and Protestant wedding procedures, embodying Western cultural elements, have become fashionable, and many in China have embraced them for romance and prestige.Such an attitude of the Chinese towards Orthodox weddings is in itself impossible, since there are no Orthodox priests of Chinese nationality in the country.
Often a wedding ceremony is a spectacular theatrical performance that complements the wedding ceremony. However, in most cases, modern Chinese people do without it at all.
In a photo studio, a few months before the wedding, they usually order a beautiful wedding album and several enlarged photographs of the newlyweds. One of them is hung on the wall in the bedroom of the young.And the second photograph is placed in the restaurant, where it is planned to celebrate the solemn event, in the form of an invitation poster welcoming guests.
You can often see a smartly dressed bride and groom, who are filmed by a professional photographer in a picturesque setting: in beautiful parks, old estates. However, this is not their wedding day, but only the photographs taken before this in the outfits provided by the studio. On the wedding day itself, the newlyweds will have to change three outfits.They can be your own or rented.
On the day of the celebration in the morning, the bride, with the help of her bridesmaids, puts on a wedding dress. Most often, this is a white dress, which is familiar to us. The groom arrives at the bride’s house, picks her up and puts her in the car. Typically, this is a red or white limousine. Then they, together with the guests, make a walking tour of the most beautiful places in the city or village without stopping, after which the procession arrives at the restaurant prepared for the celebration.
In the restaurant, laid tables await guests, around them are hung images of a hieroglyph meaning “double happiness”. The groom’s friend, who is often also the wedding manager, distributes wedding flowers to the guests and keeps a special box for collecting money as a gift for the newlyweds. In the first rows among the guests are the parents of the young people, the bosses from the job of the bride and groom, as well as the so-called “right people”.
Relatives of the newlyweds are located at more distant tables.
When everyone is assembled, you will not be able to enjoy the festive food right away. Those present will have to be patient, since now there is a long official part of the ceremony. The wedding planner invites the bride and groom to go on stage to bow and distribute red gift envelopes with money or bank cards. Bows to the superiors are added to the bow list above.
After that, the wedding planner gives the floor to the parents of the young couple, their close relatives and bosses.The bride and groom remain on stage and receive congratulations.
When the official part comes to a close, guests can finally start eating. The groom and the bride will have to change their clothes twice in the future, sewn in the style of traditional clothing of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
But the bride and groom still won’t be able to eat and relax. When guests are enjoying a festive meal, they go around all the tables. This gives all guests the opportunity to deliver their congratulatory speech and drink a glass of rice vodka or a glass of wine with the newlyweds.
The further program of the celebration depends on the mass people present — the entertainers or the fantasies of young friends. In general, this is very similar to the usual wedding for us. The most popular way to entertain guests is karaoke. But there is one significant difference from the wedding traditions of our country – it is not customary to dance in China. And although the traditional wedding cake has become fashionable in China, various dry cakes, sweets or fruits are often served for dessert.
Thus, a wedding ceremony in China is a rather tedious process.However, it is also a very bright, colorful and original performance that cannot leave anyone indifferent.
90,000 How much does a wedding in China cost? | ChinaLogist.ru
Authors: Lisa Mahapatra, Sophie Song
How much does a wedding in China cost? According to the map of the “value” of brides, which was distributed throughout Weibo (analogous to Twitter in China), in Shanghai, a wedding costs from 1 million yuan (163.193 thousand US dollars), but in the industrial metropolis of Chongqing – absolutely nothing, much to the joy of potential suitors.
After 30 years of government birth control, the PRC is experiencing an imbalance in the ratio of men and women. As a result, by 2020, almost 24 million Chinese men will be left without a pair. Therefore, women in China are literally worth their weight in gold: brides set a very decent price for their hand and heart.
The “cost” of the bride is the ransom that the groom must pay to the girl’s parents for their consent to the marriage. In fact, this is the male counterpart of the dowry, kalym, a phenomenon common in many world cultures.
The average annual income of a Shanghai resident is about 53 thousand yuan.
A map that appeared on Weibo clearly shows the level of wedding expenses in different regions of China. The top lines of the list are occupied by Shanghai and Tianjin, the cities of central subordination.
Ransom of the bride often means that the groom provides the young family with living space, the cost of which in most cities in China is not less than 60-100 thousand yuan. Since housing is the most expensive part of a ransom, the total cost of a bride can well exceed $ 1 million.yuan. This is a truly astronomical amount for the Chinese, considering that even in Shanghai, the total city income of the average city dweller is 52.66 thousand yuan.
Three regions fell into the category of 500+ thousand yuan: the northeastern provinces, where the ransom costs 68 thousand, three gold jewelry, 9.999 thousand yuan in cash for the bride herself and an apartment. In Jiangxi and Qinghai, the cost of brides is about 38 and 30 thousand yuan, respectively.
There are also significant differences within provinces in rural and urban areas.In Zhejiang, for example, which entered the category of 100+ thousand yuan, the cost of buying a bride in the village is 100 thousand, and in the city it is already 150 thousand yuan.
Cost also depends on local traditions. In Inner Mongolia, for example, medieval foundations are still strong, the total cost is 8,888 yuan, in addition to a herd of cows, whose livestock is a multiple of 9 (a very revered number in China), a wardrobe and three gold jewelry.
Since the groom transfers all the valuables to the bride’s parents, as a rule, they are free to assign the value themselves.
Who, then, are the happiest men in such a cost scenario? Of course, the guys from Chongqing who do not pay anything at all, but just get married and live happily for themselves. All of China now knows that in Sichuan, love cannot be bought for money.
After the card went online, many men from all over China pestered unmarried girls and Chongqing with requests to marry them. Perhaps local brides should reconsider their selfless views on family and marriage?
Source: International Business Times
Wedding traditions and ceremonies of the peoples of the world
The wedding ceremonies of the world are very diverse.Each country and people has its own characteristics, which may seem wild to many. Some ceremonies amaze with their romanticism, some, on the contrary, with their minimalism and practicality.
China: In China, the color of love and joy is red, so everything is usually red: the bride’s dress, candles, gift boxes and envelopes with money. The bride receives small boxes with gold jewelry as a gift from her relatives.At a Chinese wedding, the toastmaster, who never closes his mouth for a minute, directs the cutting of a huge multi-layer cake, which must be cut from bottom to top, as it symbolizes the ladder along which the young climb to their happiness.
A tradition has come to us from China when the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony drink wine from glasses tied with a red ribbon.
Traditional Chinese Wedding Ceremony:
“To marry” is literally “to take a wife” in Chinese, and “to get married” is “to leave one’s own family.”This is the essence of marriage in the Chinese understanding – the wife passes into the house and family of her husband, and her entire subsequent fate is closely associated with the new family. Because of this, daughters were never given land as a dowry, often furniture, jewelry, household items, and sums of money. On the wedding day, the bride, wearing a headdress imitating the empress’s attire, with her face tightly hung with pearl threads, entered a richly decorated palanquin, which her father locked behind the threshold of the house, and to the sounds of pipes and explosions of firecrackers, a colorful procession headed to the groom’s house along the most crowded and wide streets, often in a roundabout way.Behind the palanquin they carried a dowry in open chests, and the heralds accompanying the procession read its complete list, as well as the name of the newlywed and the merits of her family. Upon the arrival of the procession at the groom’s house, the father-in-law solemnly unlocked the palanquin, the bride walked to the house, stepping on the backs of the playing lions, in which the groom’s young friends and relatives were dressed, entered the house where the ceremony of worshiping the spirits of the ancestors, as well as Heaven and Earth, began. This ceremony was the most significant and solemn part of the wedding ceremony – after three bows in front of the ancestral altar, the groom threw off the scarlet veil from the bride’s face and brought her a goblet of ritual wine, the bride drank three sips and handed the goblet to the groom, he also took three sips, and with At this point, the young were considered husband and wife.In the evening, there was another part of the wedding ceremony. One of the rooms turned into a bedroom for the newlyweds and was decorated accordingly – on the walls there are images of inseparable mandarin ducks cut out of red paper, golden hieroglyphs for double happiness, lanterns and flowers, a bed decorated with red linens, with an elegant canopy, a dressing table, on the mirror of which, and also on the windows hang Taoist charms, hieroglyphs-spells written in red ink on yellow paper, a mirror and a heavy bone comb on the pier glass.The mother-in-law introduces the young wife, followed by the husband, and brings in steaming cups of longevity noodles, which will soon be given to the young to taste. First, the newlywed, and then his young wife, sit on the bed, they are served two glasses, tied at the base with a red ribbon, they are filled three times with fruit wine mixed in a special vessel. When the glasses were drained for the third time, it was time to exchange shoes as a sign of agreement not to part for life. This is a “commotion in the bedroom” – if you do not properly arrange it with the forces of guests, demons and other evil spirits will not miss the opportunity to joke more terrible! So it was a hundred or eighty years ago.
Tibet: Guests bless the young and tie scarves around their necks. And since a wedding is a crowded celebration, by the end its culprits are sitting, tied with scarves to the very top. Here a woman can have two husbands.
Thailand: Newlyweds, entwined with garlands, sit on their knees and hold hands. The oldest relative leading the ceremony puts their hands in the water and declares them husband and wife.
India: Here, girls are allowed to marry from the age of 16, but boys, or rather boys, from 5-6 years old.In India, after the end of the wedding ceremony, a male family member showered the bride and groom with flower petals. This ritual symbolizes the protection of the young from evil forces. To ward off evil spirits, coconuts are twisted three times over the heads of the young.
Iran: The groom buys the dress for the bride. It is just a large piece of cloth in which the bride is carefully wrapped. After the ceremony, the young are sprinkled with sugar.
Japan: On the wedding day, the bride and her family go to visit the groom.Traditionally, the bride wears a triangular headscarf over her head to hide the “horns of jealousy” that every woman is said to have. In Japan, the bride changes her outfit at least three times during the wedding, first wears a white kimono, then a red one, then a usual European outfit.
Traditional Japanese Wedding Ceremony:
During the Edo period, among the samurai class, marriages were usually contracted by families without the participation of the bride and groom. People of common origin mostly married and married for love.The custom of arranging marriages spread throughout all classes of Japanese society during the Meiji era (second half of the 19th century) out of the parents’ desire to continue the lineage and maintain their social status.
It is customary for the family of the future groom to give money and such symbolic signs of good luck as edible seaweed kombu (a symbol of prosperity for future generations) and an abalone (a sign of wishes for a long life). In return, the family of the bride-to-be presents about half the value of the gifts.This exchange denotes the couple’s desire to get married and the families agree with their choice of partners. Previously, if a man intended to comply with all the formalities, he gave his chosen one during the Yuino ceremony nine wedding gifts (if not nine, then five or seven).
Since the 19th century, the beginning of modernization in Japan, a wedding ceremony in a Shinto shrine with a declaration of union addressed to the deity of the shrine has been widespread, just as it was during the time of the Emperor. The bride in the traditional wedding dress (siromuku) is completely white, from a silk veil and kimono to long outerwear, an obi belt, tabi socks and sandals.White symbolizes the purity and desire of the young wife to perceive the colors of her new home (i.e. to learn new habits). The groom is dressed in traditional Japanese clothing (black kimono, haori jacket decorated with the family coat of arms and hakama trousers). The young wife will appear in the reception area in a white kimono or in a western-style wedding dress, but during the reception she will briefly leave the guests and return in a colored kimono or dress. This custom, which originated in the Muromachi era (14-15th centuries), means that the spouse returns to everyday life and is ready to start a new life with her husband.Cutting a wedding cake is considered another ritual, which symbolizes the first joint action of a married couple, and the guests, in turn, applaud in unison and wish a long and happy family life. At the end of the reception, as a token of gratitude, the newlyweds give bouquets to their parents, and then the young spouse (or his father) thanks the guests. The reception was an opportunity for them to officially announce the marriage and express gratitude to all those people who played an important role in their lives.
Algeria: In this country, women are allowed to give birth to “sleeping children” – those that appear during a long absence of the husband.According to the belief of this people, a “sleeping” child can live in the womb for several years. Husbands who are honored to have a “sleeping” child retain paternal feelings for illegitimate children.
Kenya: From Kenya, the tradition began to paint the bride’s hands and nails with ritual patterns in black and red; the paint lasts for a whole year, symbolizing the new status of a woman. Trial marriages are quite common here. And the wedding is played only after the birth of the child.
Another wonderful tradition that exists in Kenya instructs the husband to wear women’s clothing during the first month after the wedding, in order to feel the full weight of the female share.
Nigeria: The girl must get well before the wedding, otherwise she will be returned to her parents.
South Africa: For the young to be happy, parents must bring fire from their homes and light the hearth in the young home.
Morocco: The wedding lasts 4 to 7 days. Before entering a new home, the bride must walk around it three times, and before the wedding, take a cleansing milk bath.
Flowers are an essential part of African American weddings.Women adorn themselves with flowers and shells as a sign of purity and purity, and then jump with their chosen one over a broomstick, which marks the beginning of family life. Traditional African and African American weddings are accompanied by the sounds of drums and national instruments. The bride wears shell beads as a symbol of purity and purity.
Austria: The bride adorns her veil with myrtle, which is the flower of life.
UK: The bride and her guests walk to church together.The procession is led by a little girl scattering flowers along the road so that the bride’s life is happy and filled with flowers.
Germany: On the evening before the wedding, friends of the bride come to the door of her house and smash dishes and plates on the threshold as a sign of good luck. The guests hit the plates on the floor, and the young ones sweep the fragments so that nothing else breaks in their house. After the wedding, the witness kidnaps the bride and drags her to the pub, where he drinks until the groom, who pays for everything that the bride drank, finds them.
Ireland: The Irish seek to get married on St. Patrick’s Day. Before the wedding, the bride herself must comb her hair and style her hair. This custom preserves the feminine power. And the couple should spend their honeymoon in the wilderness, away from everyone, drinking honey wine – this is done in case the parents suddenly change their minds and decide to separate the lovers.
Spain: Orange flowers must be present in the bride’s bouquet; for greater beauty, they are also woven into the bride’s hair.The groom gives the bride thirteen coins as a sign that he can take care of her and support her in life. Throughout the ceremony, the bride keeps these coins in a special wallet.
Italy: Silk ribbons are tied before the doors of the church in which the wedding takes place, symbolizing the unbreakable bond of marriage.
Netherlands: A festive wedding dinner is arranged prior to the ceremony. At dinner, there must be sweets called “bride sugar” and spicy wine called “bride’s tears”.
Norway: On the wedding day, the newlyweds plant small Christmas trees on both sides of the door of the house.
Finland: The bride wears a gold crown. After the ceremony, unmarried women blindfold the bride and dance around her. Whoever the bride wears the crown on is the next one to marry.
France: The newlyweds adhere to an old tradition and drink to their happiness from a large bowl with two handles.
Czech Republic: Friends hide in the bride’s garden and plant a tree there, then decorate it with ribbons and painted eggs.Legend has it that it will live as long as a tree will grow.
Switzerland: In front of their house, the newlyweds plant a pine tree, which symbolizes good luck and wealth. After the young couple take an oath of eternal love, the bride burns her wreath of flowers. If it burns out quickly, it means that the young will live happily ever after.
Mexico: The main organizers of the wedding are the godparents of the bride and groom.They finance the celebration. The guests join hands and form a round dance in the shape of a heart, in the center of which the young dance their first dance.
Venezuela: The godfather must give permission to the groom to marry, otherwise the spouses will not see happiness. First, a civil ceremony is arranged, after 2 weeks – a church one. Both of them end with revels, but the church one is more magnificent. The young, on the other hand, must escape unnoticed – then they will be surely happy.
Chile: Newlyweds exchange rings during their engagement, just put them on their right hand, and after the wedding they move them to their left.
Among the inhabitants of the Navajo tribe, one of the largest American Indian peoples, the traditional bride dress consists of four colors, each of which represents the side of the world: black – north, blue – south, orange – west, white – east. During the ceremony, the couple faces east: towards the direction of the rising sun, which symbolizes the beginning of a new life.
Timur Fedosov , specialist LenArt agency .Distribution of the article is possible and even encouraged without making any changes to the original text and with the obligatory reference to the source!
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