Chinese Marriage Traditions
Chinese weddings, and the rituals preceding the wedding, are steeped in ancient traditions. Here is an overview of the most common and traditional Chinese marriage ceremonies.
Chinese Marriage Superstitions - The Color Red
The color red plays an important part in a Chinese wedding. Red is the symbol of joy - and what is more joyous than a wedding? Red is the dominant color for Chinese weddings, from clothing to candles on the tables to red firecrackers.
Chinese Marriage Traditions - Letters
The Chinese groom's family formally asks in the form of a letter for the hand of the bride.
Both families have to agree that the couple is a good match for each other. Importance is placed on the horoscopes of both the groom and bride. Also, the actual date of the wedding is discussed as to avoid unlucky days.
If negotiations were successful, a gift letter is send to the bride's family, and the groom will bring the bride's family a variety of food and other traditional items. The couple is now engaged.
The bride prepares a dowry. A dowry includes clothes and other daily necessities. At the day of the wedding, the dowry is brought to the family of the groom.
The groom's family sends a wedding letter, officially acknowledging the bride into the family.
Chinese Marriage Traditions - The Wedding Ceremony
During the actual ceremony, which equals the exchange of vows in the west, the couple will pay respect by kneeling three times.
They kneel to the heaven and earth, the ancestral tablets and their parents, and then to each other. A tea ceremony follows, in which the bride serves tea to the groom's family. The bride will receive jewelry or money wrapped in red envelopes.
Chinese Marriage Traditions - The Wedding Banquet
The couple will invite all relatives and friends to their wedding banquet. The banquet is considered even more important than the ceremony itself. A great deal of attention is placed on the food offered during the banquet.
You'll be hard pressed to find a wedding banquet without fish, which is a symbol for abundance.
Naturally, modern Chinese couples might not follow all traditions or rituals. Also, while it was tradition that the newlywed couple moved in with the groom's family, many modern couples would prefer to live alone.
But even during a modern Chinese wedding, elements of ancient customs can be found.
While my colleague didn't wear a red Qipao - he traditional brides' dress-she followed tradition in having a traditional Chinese wedding banquet.
If you are ever invited to a Chinese wedding banquet, don't miss out! A Chinese wedding banquet is a joyous celebration and the highlight of every Chinese wedding, no matter if traditional or modern.
Chinese Marriage Superstitions
Most Chinese superstitions involve numbers and colors. Also, the way a word sounds is very important. A Chinese bride shouldn't wear black, blue or gray, because that would result in bad luck to the marriage. Preferred colors for the bride to wear are white, but red is the all time favorite.