China is a country which highly values its traditional ways. This is evident in its many festivals and other aspects and when it comes to weddings in China, such customary features are unsurprisingly a highlight. There are a number of traditional customs involved with Chinese weddings, starting from the proposal. The proposal is somewhat elaborate with a person acting as a matchmaker between the parties. The parents of the prospective groom and bride are the proposal’s important parties, rather than the couple itself.
Since the Chinese consider the marriage to be a creation of alliances between families and continuing of the ancestral line, adhering to the traditional customs is considered to be highly important. Once the groom’s parents choose a suitable bride-to-be, they send gifts to her parents via the matchmaker.
There is another special custom called The Betrothal which involves the exchanging of family credentials and betrothal gifts as well as giving the dowry to the boy.
On the day of the wedding, various rituals are carried out such as the groom’s ‘Capping’ ritual and the bride’s “Hair Dressing’ ritual. These are believed to symbolize their entry into adulthood. The colour which is most prominently featured in the clothing and wedding decorations is red.
After these rituals, a procession from the groom’s house, arrive at the bride’s house to obtain her. Led by the groom, the procession includes musicians and attendants with banners and lanterns. The procession’s main highlight is of course the bridal sedan chair covered with fresh flowers and red satin.
The wedding ceremony is simple, in contrast to all the preparations. The couple is taken to the family altar where they pay respects to Kitchen God, Tsao-Chün, the family ancestors and most importantly Heaven and Earth.
After the ceremony, the bride and groom are led to the nicely adorned bridal chamber where a number of more rituals are performed before the wedding feast takes place. The feast is said to be held for the public recognition of the union of the two.