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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions >>

Chinese Traditional Wedding

Traditionally, there is a saying in Chinese Culture "it is natural to get married when growing up." Obviously, Chinese people value family ties a lot. So wedding, as the holy ceremony of being tied, are so important for Chinese.

Having a history of over 2400 years, wedding customs in China remain from generation to generation. What remained now are chief objectives: joining and enhancing the two families and ensuring succession with numerous descendants. The recurring elements are reverence to parents and ancestors, omens to encourage fertility and wealth, financial and social obligations contracted by both families at the betrothal, extensive gift giving etiquette as well as the bride' s incorporation into her husband' s family.


Undeniably, the process would begin with an elaborate marriage proposal and acceptance. Traditionally, there would be a go-between, who acts as a buffer the two parties-the two families of the prospective bridal and groom. That is to say, the proposal and betrothal negotiations were the parents, rather than the young people who would probably tie the knot.

When the parents of the boy identify the likely bride-to-be, the buffer would be sent to present betrothal gifts to the parents of the girl to express their feelings about the match and make a promising tie for their young.

Deep in Chinese culture, "marriage is for continuing the ancestral line and creating alliances between families. That seems to be too significant a duty to be left in the rash hands of the young." Also there is a belief that the families of the bride and groom should be of equal rank. However, today such notions changes a lot but there are still some people believe that such matched couples only could reach old age together.


After the two families sign the contract, engagement is taken. There would be several auspicious wedding dates suggested by the boy' s family for the girl' s family to choose from. Also the family of the groom-to-be would present betrothal gifts of money and significant items like tea, dragon and phoenix bridal cakes, pairs of make and female poultry, sweetmeats and sugar, wine and tobacco, accompanied by an itemized statement of these gifts.

Customary, the received bridal cakes are distributed by the girl' s family to friends and relatives as a form of announcement and invitation to the wedding feast. In turn, people who receive the bridal cakes are expected to present congratulatory gifts to the girl' s parents.

Several days after the presentation of the betrothal gifts, the girl' s family would send the porters with an inventoried dowry to the boy' s house. Usually the dowry is practical, including a chamber pot, filled for the occasion with fruit and strings of coins.

Actually the betrothal gifts presentation shows acknowledgment and reverence of the parents' efforts raising the girl, while the dowry sending displays the social status of the girl' s family as well as their love for the daughter. There are even serving girls sent to attend their daughter in her new home by wealthy parents.

Historically, the betrothal would last a year or two. It is binding. If child betrothals, it would last until the children had grown to marriageable age..

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