China, the reputedly “State of Ceremony” , boasts profound culture. When it comes to Chinese culture, Chinese wedding ceremony, as a reflection of culture, should never be neglected. Just follow ChinaTour.com to discover the traditional Chinese wedding customs.
Although Chinese wedding customs varies from area to area, there are essentially following rituals in common. They are proposal making, birthday inquiring, marriage divination, betrothal gift presenting, wedding date fixing, bridal dowry delivering and wedding ceremony.
Proposal Making. In ancient times, the marriage of people is completely arranged by their parents. When a boy’s parents found a likely bride-to-be, they would send a matchmaker to the girl’s family to discuss the possibility of the marriage.
Birthday Inquiring. If the proposal is agreed by the girl and her family, the boy’s parents would send the matchmaker to the girl’s family to enquire the girl’s name and birth-date.
Marriage Divination. The boy’s parents would send the name and birth-date of the boy and the girl to a future-teller to see whether their marriage is appropriate.
Betrothal Gift Presenting. The bridegroom’s family arranges the betrothal gift including betrothal letter, clothes, jewelry, gold, silver and money, and asks the match-maker to present these to the bride’s family. The bride’s family would return some gifts to the prospective groom.
Wedding Date Fixing. If the engagement is confirmed, the two families would invite an experienced person to choose a proper wedding date according to Chinese tung shing, a Chinese divination guide and almanac. The chosen wedding date is believed to be auspicious, which could bring good luck and happiness for the new couple in the future.
Bridal Dowry Delivering. During the period between the wedding date settlement and welcoming the bride, the bride’s parents would deliver the bride’s dowry a few days before the wedding, including pillows, new clothes for the bride in a suitcase, tea set for the wedding’s tea ceremony, two pairs of red wooden clogs, gold jewelry given by bride’s parents etc..
Wedding Ceremony. The final ritual would be the wedding ceremony where bride and groom becomes a married couple.
Chinese Wedding Decorations
Red is the wedding theme of China, because it signifies love, joy and prosperity. When decorating the wedding, the character for happiness (xi) would be hanged, which symbolizes happiness in future. Also a pair of red couplet would be hung at the door of the new couple.
On the Wedding Day
The wedding ceremony is mainly composed of the following parts:
Welcoming the Bride
On the morning of the wedding day, the groom goes to the bride’s home. Younger brides often have a few girlfriends at the home who will tease the groom and beg for small gifts or red envelopes stuffed with money before letting him in. Then the groom carries the bride on his back to the sedan chair. With the boisterous blaring trumpets, the bride is welcomed to the groom’ home.
Bowing to Heaven and Earth
Once at the groom’s home, the bride and groom bow to heaven and earth in front of the groom’s family altar first, groom’s parents second, and to each other last.
Traditional Tea Ceremony
At the groom’s home, the couple offers tea to their elders including the groom’s parents. The elder’s acceptance of the tea indicates that the family has welcomed the bride into the groom’s family.
Day after Wedding
On the day after wedding, the bride wakes up early and pays a visit to the groom’s relatives. It is only then that she is formally introduced to the grooms’ relatives, while the bride would receive small gift from the groom’s relatives.
Three days after the wedding, the bride and bridegroom will pay a visit to the bride’s family, while the bride would be received as a gust then.
In some areas of China, this traditional Chinese wedding customs still exsits. If you are lucky enough, you may see the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony along your China tours, which would be a much interesting experience along your China trip.