Authors: DianDian Jiang, Stella Hu
Weddings are memorable occasions that celebrate love and new beginnings in many different cultures. This is especially true in Chinese culture where an individual’s wedding is one of the most important milestones in their young adult life.
The “Three Letters and Six Etiquettes”
One of the many reasons why these weddings are significantly special and important is because they are heavily based on different traditions and customs. There are essentially six rituals, known as the three letters and six etiquettes.
“Three letters” refer to all the letters used:
- The Betrothal Letter for the engagement,
- TheGift Letter for the gifts
- The Wedding Letter to accept the wedding.
Meanwhile “six etiquettes” refers to:
- Making a proposal of marriage,
- Requesting the bride’s name and date of birth,
- Sending news of divination results and betrothal gifts,
- Sendingwedding presents to the bride’s house,
- Requestingthe date of the wedding,
- And fetching the bride in person.
The Tea Ceremony
Before the official wedding ceremony, the tea ceremony takes place in the groom’s house. The tea is served by the bride’s family to the groom’s family and the couple “worships the ancestors and the heaven and the earth”. After the tea is finished, the couple receives lucky, red pockets that include money. After that, the wedding ceremony begins where the couple bow to each other to finally become husband and wife.
The Wedding Banquet
The banquet for many families is the most important part of the wedding ceremony: it is as big as the couple could afford, and it serves as public recognition of the marriage.
Lucky colours and auspicious symbols
In China, the red colour is seen as a “symbol of blessing”. The bride’s wedding dress is also called qipao, a red long Chinese dress with gold dragons, phoenixes and mandarin ducks drawings.