Marriage is a ceremony, civil or religious, by which couple of the opposite sex unites in becoming husband and wife. Marriage ritual may vary on its native custom. In China, they call it “pinyin” which means “love”, “friendliness” and “harmony” by which are believed to be signs of the correct way of living for married people.
Chinese's marriage is a ceremonial ritual between two people of the opposite sex in Chinese's societies. Most marriages in China start from pre-arrangements between families. Monogamy is the standard of marriage in China.
Traditional rituals are preserved until the modern days. Basically, a marriage in this country has six rituals, which are generally known as the three letters and six etiquettes.
The “three letters” serve as the initiation of marriage. No communication device was present in the old times. Thus, letters serve as the only means of communication of both parties. They play an important role in the successive events in Chinese's marriage.• The first letter is the request letter. This has to be sent to the bride’s family from the groom’s family. Containing the letter is a request for marriage.
• The second letter is the gift letter which accompanies the gifts for the bride’s family from the groom’s family just before the formal wedding ceremony is held.
• The last letter is the wedding letter. This has to be given on the day of the wedding. It marks as the official acceptance of the bride to the family of the groom.
The Six Etiquettes:
The Proposal- It starts when the parents of an unmarried boy find a potential wife of their son. After which, they would look for a matchmaker whose task is to lessen the conflict of interests between two families unknown to one another on the discussing of the marriage possibilities.
The Birth dates- If the potential wife gave no objection to the proposal, the matchmaker would then do the task of comparing the couple’s birth dates. In Chinese's astrology if the couple is found compatible, they can proceed to the next step.
The Bride Prices- This step is the arrangement of bridegroom’s family for the matchmaker to present bride price, which means betrothal gifts, including betrothal letters to the bride’s family.
The Wedding Gifts- This is the sending of foods, cakes and religious items to the bride’s family.
The Wedding Arrangement- The arrangement will be agreed by the two families which are believed to bring luck to the couple. The wedding date must be based on the Chinese calendar mythology.
The Wedding Ceremony- It marks as the final ritual, the time when the groom and the bride are united to become husband and wife. The ritual has many parts.
The following are the different parts of the wedding ceremony:
The Wedding Procession- The procession starts from bride’s home to the groom’s home. Traditional bands, bride’s sedan, maid of honor, and bride’s dowry which consist of the procession.
The Welcoming of the Bride- The wedding procession stops at the groom’s home. A ritual will be done to welcome the bride in the groom’s home. The ritual varies depending on the setting.
The Actual Wedding Ceremonies- The wedding ceremony is believed to be the paying respect of heaven and earth, paying respect to the groom’s parents and paying respect to each other.
The Wedding Banquet- Xi-jiu is used to term wedding banquets in China. The word means joyful wine. The banquet is often considered far important than the wedding ceremony that itself. In some banquets, the bride is seen presenting wines to spouse, parents and guests.
In the traditional manner, wives are married with husbands not by their own selection. Instead, the family of the wife prospects the husband to be picked. Before establishing marriage, there are many factors to consider. Most times, it is based on the needs of reproduction and preservation of honor.
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