Traditional Chinese Wedding Ceremony

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What was involved in a traditional Chinese Wedding Ceremony?

Traditional Chinese Wedding Ceremony

"A traditional Chinese marriage is best conceived of as a contractual transfer of personnel (the bride) from one patrilineal group to another. It was not arranged by the bride and groom but rather by their respective families, who themselves turned the responsibility of matching mates over to a hired go-between and, ultimately, to Heaven." - Joachim 1986, 164

A traditional Chinese wedding ceremony was very elaborate in the preparations, but utterly simple in the actual wedding ceremony. The day of the wedding, the bride went through several preparation rituals including:

  • The Hair Dressing Ritual
  • The Capping Ritual
  • The Ritual Journey to the Groom's House
  • The Arrival Ritual
Each of these rituals was designed to help the bride to be achieving the look of a married woman. Her transition from single daughter to wife was as important to her choice of hairstyles as it was to her bearing and clothing. A good luck woman spent the time of preparation with her and spoke words of wisdom to help prepare her for the transformation. Each ritual served a purpose in leading up to the Chinese wedding ceremony.

The ceremony itself was exceptionally simple. The bride and groom would be conducted to their family altars where they would pay homage to the family ancestors, the Kitchen God and to Heaven and Earth. They would then offer tea to the groom's parents. After the tea was served, the bride and groom would then bow to each other and thus the wedding ceremony itself was concluded. Following a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, the bride and groom would retire immediately to the bridal chamber where they would then spend their time together and get to know each other.



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