Han Chinese Wedding Ceremony
How to Have a Confucian Wedding Ceremony
Confucianism is the religion of China. From a society type of view, the marriage is more in the interest of the family than the individual couple, even more so in ancient types. the philosophy of Confucian however, states that married couples are sacred and should treat each other with love and friendliness. the pre-wedding customs are divided into numerous steps:
A formal proposal.It isn't common anymore to have a formal proposal, were the men have to ask their father of the bride to be for permission to marry their daughter. In some countries, however, it is still done, sometimes just for show. A normal proposal can count here too.
Exchange gifts.It is normal for the grooms family to bestow 8 gifts upon the brides family. these gifts can consists of almost anything. In return, the bride family also gifts the groom. Sometimes, a bride price is paid. This is money in a red envelope. The brides family also give her a 'dowry', which is a piece of land or amount of money for her to take into the marriage.
Choose the day for the wedding.For the Chinese people, it's very important to pick the right day for their wedding, or it might fail. They often go to a temple to see a monk. He will choose the date, based on the bride and grooms birth dates. The 7th month is unsuitable for marriage because the hungry ghost festival is held, and also even days are preferred.
Prepare the bridal bed.This is done weeks before the wedding, since the first night is extremely important. The bed is dressed with new red or pink sheets and has a plate on it, filled with dried longans, red dates, lotus seeds, persimmons and pomegranate leaves. 2 Bedside lamps are lit to bestow the married couple with good luck and health.
Choose the clothes.Grooms wear almost the same thing as here in the west. Brides normally wear more traditional kimono's in red or white. For the wedding banquet, the woman wear something else, but ALWAYS red.
The hair combing ceremony:This is done the night before the wedding and both groom and bride are present. They shower in water, infused with pomegranate and pomelo and put on new clothes. The female members of the families then bless them while sitting in front of a mirror and at an open window with the moon shining through. Four blessings are said while combing their hair: 1) To stay together, all their lives. 2) For harmony in their marriage. 3) That they may be blessed with many, healthy children. 4) That they may live a long life.
The real wedding ceremony begins:Beginning with a wedding procession. The entire brides family, bridesmaids, etc. walk to the house of the groom (were the wedding is traditionally held In some areas there are also traditions to welcome the bride into her new home/family.
The actual wedding ceremony begins.Just like exchanging vows in the west, the bride and groom pay respect to the emperor, the gods, dead relatives, the others family and (most importantly) each other.
The Banquet.Just like in the west, a great banquet is held for all the guests. This is sometimes even more important then the wedding ceremony itself and has many traditions in it. Normally, the bride serves wine or tea for her spouse and his family. The meal itself is very elaborate, with 5-10 courses. In some areas, the banquet is still divided into 2 parts. A normal one for everyone, and then a smaller one for the grooms family to get to known their daughter in law better.
Video: Our Traditional Chinese Wedding (full wedding version)
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