Preparing for a Chinese wedding involves much work and careful meticulousness to ensure that things fall in place during the actual day itself. Many of these pre-wedding traditions and customs bear a significance of their own. For a smooth sailing Chinese wedding, follow this article for a checklist of pre-wedding customs and traditions.
Choosing An Auspicious Date
First and foremost, an auspicious date for the wedding is chosen and set. This is normally done with the aid of a fortune teller, a Chinese monk or an astrologer. The Chinese calendar may also be referred to. As a brief guideline, even numbered dates are preferred. Also, the seventh lunar month is especially avoided as it is known by the Chinese as the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, during which it is believed that spirits of the deceased are released from the lower realm and are free to roam the earth.
Presentation Of The Betrothal Gifts
Secondly, the betrothal is carried out. Three months in advance before the wedding day, the groom presents the betrothal gifts to his bride’s family, most notably on an auspicious date. Take note that the gifts should be in even numbers, especially in pairs. Most of the time, they are nice tea, jewellery, and good wines for the bride. Sometimes, the gifts have a symbolic meaning behind them.
For example, a pair of chopsticks may be given to the bride, which, in Chinese, stands for “fast son”, presented to the bride in hope of her bearing a son quickly. Also, the groom’s parents are normally expected to present a Si Dian Jin to the bride before the wedding. This entails jewellery. It is a must, even in modern days because it signifies the bride’s transition into a wealthy family, and her future life would be carefree and comfortable. The bride is expected to wear the jewellery during the wedding.
A bride price should also be paid- this is a sum given by the groom to the bride’s family as a token of appreciation for her hand in marriage. However, the price tends to vary, depending on the groom’s family’s financial standing.
Presentation Of The Dowry Gifts
Thirdly, before the wedding, dowry gifts are presented to the bride by her parents. This can be done on the day the betrothal gifts are presented too. Dowry gifts typically encompass the wedding tea ceremony’s tea set, comforter sets, bed sheets, pillows, tumblers, mirror, combs and even more.
Installation Of The Bridal Bed
Fourth, a bridal bed is installed in the bridal room before the wedding day, most notably, on an auspicious date. This is done by a good fortune woman. Red bed sheets are spread on the bed, and a plate of lotus seeds, persimmons, dates, dried longans along with two red packets are put on the bed. The bed is flanked by two bed lamps to represent the addition of sons to the existing family.
Decorations And Embellishments
Fifth, the bridal room has to be embellished and decorated in red Chinese decorations that are symbolic. For example, the furniture will have paper cutouts stuck onto them. These cutouts bear dragon, mandarin duck or phoenix motifs. Similarly, such cutouts in red will also adorn the bridal room door and main door. Both households will have a red banner hung across the door frames to signify and announce the joyous occasion.
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