Ancient China’s wedding traditions



May 5 2018     By Meera Kamal


In ancient China, marriages were conducted to show one’s social status. It was considered as a procedure to increase a family's social status. The groom and the bride didn't have any opinion on selecting their partner. The parents through a professional matchmaker would find an appropriate alliance for their children.

 

An alliance is made according to the wealth, social status and lineage of the prospective couple.

Once the boy's family selects a girl, they would send a matchmaker to the girl's family with lots of gifts, If the girl's family also accepts the proposal, they would give the girl's horoscope to the matchmaker.

 

The guy's family would place the horoscope on an altar for their ancestors. If no bad omen happens in the house for the next three days, the horoscope will be sent to an astrologer to confirm the match. An astrologer or fortune teller would also select an appropriate wedding date.

 

Both the families will later reward the matchmaker generously.

 

To show the boy's family's capability to provide a prosperous life to the girl, they would again send many gifts to the girl's family. The girl's family would distribute the bridal cakes they received as gift from the boy's family to their relatives, friends and neighbours as a symbol of invitation to the wedding.

A major highlight of the alliance making is that the boy and the girl are not supposed to meet each other before the wedding day.

 

Before the wedding ceremony the girl's family would send the dowry to the boy's family, where it will be displayed before others to see.

 

The wedding rituals vary according to the regions.

 

The bride usually wears red dress for her wedding, as red represents prosperity in Chinese culture. The Chinese also has a hair combing ceremony, where a senior most female member would comb and style the bride's hair.

A bride is supposed to cry with her mother to show her reluctance to leave her home.

 

On the wedding day the groom would arrive at the bride's house wearing a red traditional wedding dress. There would be music and fireworks to add glamour to the wedding procession. The bride will be led to her sedan by her brother.  From there the marriage party will go to the wedding venue.

 

Her arrival is marked by firecrackers and music. In some regions the bride would have to step over a lit stove to get rid of evil eyes. 

 

The wedding ceremony was simple, the bride and the groom would honour the heaven, earth, their ancestors and kitchen god. Then the groom's parents will be provided tea with two lotus seeds in it.

 

After the tea, the couple will bow to each other. This indicates the conclusion of marriage ceremony.

Then the bride and groom bowed to each other. This completed the marriage ceremony, except in some regions, where both also drank wine from the same goblet, ate sugar molded in the form of a rooster, and partook of the wedding dinner together.

 

Soon after the ceremony the newlyweds will be lead to the bridal chamber and the guests will be treated to a grand feast.



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