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Chinese Wedding Customs at a Glance


Inter-marriages are increasing and the desire to include customs of both cultures makes for a unique and wonderful experience for both families. Couples may choose to have a western-style wedding, spiced up with many customary practices that have been handed down through generations.

ExtraOrdinary Weddings shares some of the Chinese customs that are commonly practiced in Singapore and Asia.

Gesture of respect. Photo by Studio Impressions. Wedding of Charisse and Aldo.

A couple, who is considered to have enjoyed good fortune in their lives, is invited to position and decorate the bridal bed. Then, a young boy jumps on the bed to bless the newlyweds with a possible heir.

The groom’s family presents a set of betrothal gifts to the bride’s family, usually consisting of gold jewellery (Si Dian Jin), bed linen, and food. All gifts should come in even numbers. In courtesy, some of the gifts are returned to the groom’s family.

The night before the wedding, the newlyweds have their hair combed four times. Each stroke carries a special meaning. The first stroke symbolises from beginning till the end; the second, harmony; the third, children and grandchildren; and the fourth, good wealth and a long lasting marriage.

The groom and his entourage must perform activities meted out by the bride’s girlfriends before they are allowed to enter the house and see the bride. This often involves a round of “bribery” to gain entry.

This activity is where the couple takes two lit side candles to light a larger central one, before blowing out the flames of the original two candles. The act symbolises the coming together of two individuals and their families.

Newlyweds are required to serve tea to their elders in sequence of closeness and seniority as a sign of respect. In return, the elders present them with a red packet to show their acceptance into the family.

During the course of the dinner, there will be various activities such as the cutting of the wedding cake, popping of the champagne and the thunderous toast (YUM SENG)!

Although wives nowadays can return home at anytime, some newlyweds still practise the custom of returning to the bride’s home three days after the wedding, bringing back parts of a roast pig, a cake, a bottle of liquor and other gifts.

This is a holiday for the newlyweds to celebrate their union in intimacy and seclusion - probably a needed break after the long preparation.

Related Images
Colour: Blue
Theme: Chinois
Keywords: Customs, Wedding Planning

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