Chinese marriage was systemized into custom in the Warring Stales Period. The Wedding leiter refers to the document which will be prepared and presented to the bride’s family on the day of the wedding to confirm and commemorate the formal acceptance of the bride into the bridegroom’s family. It was customary for the girl’s family to distribute the bridal cakes they received from the boy’s family to friends and relatives. Red is the traditional Chinese symbol of joy and Is a theme repeated in the wedding clothing and other ritual wedding objects. Symbolism plays a role in Chinese weddings as it does in the wedding traditions of other countries. On the day after the wedding, the bride awoke early to honor the ancestors. Traditionally, the newlyweds are to retum to visit the bride’s parents one or three days after the wedding. Traditional marriage customs lost its popularity due to the collapse of feudal marriage custom and its complexity. Now, traditional marriage custom revives in some ploces and attracts will-be-couples.
The Meaning of Wedding
Ever since ancient times, there has been a saying that the three most delightful moments in one’s life come with success in the imperial examination, marriage and the birth of a son. From the Oin (221BC-206BC) to Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, the feudal system dominated over two thousands years. During this’ period, the importance of geHing married was for more than that a person found his beHer half. For the male side, it determined the prosperity and even the future fame of their family; while for the female side, it meant that parents lost the chance of seeing their daughter for a long time. Thus to choose on ideal partner was vital for both the individual and the family.
Conditions Required in a Feudal Marriage
In feudal sociely, a marriage would be decided not by a young couple’s love, but by their parents’ desires. Only after a matchmaker’s introduction and when parents considered the two family conditions were similar and could be matched, would the marriage procedures go forward. Conditions that should be taken into consideration included wealth and social status. If a boy’s family was well-off or an official family, his parents would never permit him to marry a girl from a poor family. Essential to the marriage process were the commonly recognized” three Letters and six etiquettes”. The three letters were the betrothal letter, the gift letter with a gifts list and the wedding letter used on the day the bridegroom met his bride at her home. Six etiquettes then led to the final wedding ceremony.
Paper-Cut in Wedding
At wedding ceremony, paper-cut “Fish playing around lotus,”” Fish biting lotus,”” Lotus bearing seeds” and “Happy dolls” (baby with coiled hair holding a pair of fish) are pasted on the ceiling of the bridal chamber.
Fish, being a proliferous legendary animal, is often used to symbolize having multiple children. A yin-yang paired fish became a cultural code in Chinese folk art works.
Procession from the Groom’s House to Obtain the Bride
Because traditions varied from region to region, there were some cases in which the groom slops to have dinner with the bride’s family. There he would receive a pair of chopsticks and 1wo wine goblets wrapped in red paper. These gifts were symbolic of his receiving the joy of the family in the person of their daughter. In some regions, the groom would be presented with other symbolic gifts such as sweet longan tea, two hard-boiled eggs in syrup and transparent noodles. Yet another regianal custom was the groom’s given soup with a soft-boiled egg. He was expected to break the yolk of the egg as a symbol of breaking the bride’s lies with her family.
The Wedding Ceremony
The wedding ceremony itself was simple. Bride and groom were led to the family altar, to pay homage to Heaven and Earth, the family ancestors and the Kitchen God. Tea, with two lotus seeds or two red dates in the cup, was offered to the groom’s parents. Bride and groom bowed to each other and the marriage ceremony was completed. In some regions both also drank wine from the some goblet, ate sugar molded in the form of a rooster, and shared the wedding dinner.
Red in Marriage
To the Chinese, red is the color of happiness, success, good fortune and prosperity. This tradition is thought to date back to prehistoric times, when early humans worshipped the sun. Red, therefore, is the dominant color at a traditional Chinese wedding-the hall is covered with red papercuts of the Chinese character for “double happiness”, the bride wears a scarlet wedding dress and the bridegroom pins a red flower to his lapel. This not only odds a sense of merriment to the occasion, it also indicates the couple’s desire for a happy, prosperous marriage.