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Wedding culture in two countries. By 林玲 外文系 0605 班 学号 020602031. Marriage.

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wedding culture in two countries

Wedding culture in two countries

By 林玲



  • Marriage plays a greatly important role in social development .In the three ways of production,it is the only one to produce ourselves, and the only way to create ethic connection. Through marriage the lasting of human being is ensured, forming all kinds of relationship among and various costumes and social culture.
  • The beginning of marriage is a wedding, as it is known to us all. People think a perfect start makes everything go successfully. A wedding is far more than a ceremony, but a change for a person’s life and divine as a symbol of culture from the view of a country.
In China,there are six steps to form a completely wedding:
  • The Proposal
  • The Betrothal
  • Preparing for the Wedding Day
  • Day of the Wedding
  • Day After the Wedding
  • Three Days after the Wedding
in britain
In Britain

Contrasted to the Chinese one, the English is much simpler. In the traditional wedding culture of England, the bride willcarry acalla in hand being typical of good luck. If the two persons live near tothe church, they would get into it together with their guests and sprinkle orange flowers along the whole way. Their weddings are used to being celebrated in the afternoons, and then they would hold a party. The cakes they eat on that day are made of many kinds of fruits, they can decorate hogged nets. The top of the cake which stands for the naissance of bottle will remain until their first child come out.

the different culture
The Different Culture

As we know, there are a lot of differences between these two wedding ceremony, which reflect the different culture of the two countries.

firstly the aims of the wedding are quite different
Firstly ,the aims of the wedding are quite different
  • Chinese take marriage as “joint the two families together for the ancestor and for the offspring”(合二姓之好,上以事宗庙,而下以继后世也。). In order to bring more fame and make the families become larger and larger; marriage is a family affair more than private.
  • What about the British wedding?

It seems to pay more attention in love. The aim of a wedding is to make the lovers living together forever, so it is a private affair more than the family’s.

secondly the wedding dress is also different
Secondly, the wedding dress is also different
  • In a Chinese wedding, the common color is red. The color red is considered as good luck, a strong color that which can drive away evil spirits. The traditional Chinese wedding dress in northern China usually is one-piece frock named Qi Pao, embroidered with elaborate gold and silver designs. Brides from southern China usually wear two-piece dress named Qun Gua, Kwa or Cheongsam, also elaborately adorned with golden phoenix and dragon. The groom’s costume is a black silk coat worn over an embroidered dragon robe of dark blue. The headgear is a black hat with red tassels. Nowadays, most grooms’ wear has been simplified to a set of traditional outfit without the overcoat.
  • The west wedding dress is often white. It means chasteness, beauty, loftiness, and civility. White dress, white posy, white veil, and the white cream cake, everything is so romantic.
thirdly the woman s status in a wedding is different
Thirdly, the woman’s status in a wedding is different
  • In a Chinese traditional wedding, because of the aim of that wedding, the woman usually has a low status .The man can have more than a wife, but once the wife is just a tool for birthing and sex. So after the wedding, there is a ceremony in which the groom must see her mother-in-law, accept her enlighten, to serve the husband as a master.
  • But in west, we can see it is fairer and more democratic. They will be asked if they would like to be his/her wife /husband no matter rich or poor, health or sick until die. They change their rings to mean possessing
before the wedding
Before the Wedding
  • Marriage is usually initiated by a proposal of marriage, simply called "a proposal". In a heterosexual relationship, the man traditionally proposes to the woman and the actual proposal often has a ritual quality, involving the presentation of a ring (an engagement ring) and the formalized asking of a question such as "Will you marry me?" The man may even go down on one knee before proposing. If the proposal is accepted, the couple become engaged.
  • Once a wedding date has been set the banns of marriage, commonly known simply as "the banns", (from an Old English word meaning "to summon") are announced. This is a notice, usually placed in the local parish church or registery office, that a marriage is going to take place between two specified persons.The purpose of banns is to enable anyone to raise any legal impediment to it, so as to prevent marriages that are legally invalid. Impediments vary between legal jurisdictions, but would normally include a pre-existing marriage (having been neither dissolved nor annulled), a vow of celibacy, lack of consent, or the couple's being related within the prohibited degrees of kinship.
the people
The People

In addition to the bride and groom, traditional weddings involve a lot more people. Typically, these positions are filled by close friends of the bride and groom; being asked to serve in these capacities is seen as a great honour.

  • For the couple:-

Ringbearer - an attendant, often a young boy, who carries the wedding rings. Ushers - helpers, usually men, who assist with the organization.

  • For the groom:-

Best man - a close male friend or relative of the groom, given a place of honour. Groomsmen - one or more male attendants who support the groom.

  • For the bride:-

Maid of honour - a close female friend or relative of the bride, given a place of honour. If she is married, she is instead called the "matron of honour." Bridesmaids - one or more female attendants who support the bride.Father of the Bride - One who symbolically "gives away" the bride. If her father is deceased or otherwise unavailable, another male relative, often an uncle or brother, will give the bride away. Flower girl - a young girl who scatters flowers in front of the bridal party. Junior Bridesmaids - young girl typically between the ages of 8 and 16 who is too old to be a flowergirl, but the bride wants to be a part of the wedding.

the wedding ceremony
The Wedding Ceremony
  • When the guests arrive for a wedding the ushers' duty is to hand out the correct books, flowers and the order of service, they also ensure the guests are seated in the correct places.
  • The groom and his best man wait inside the church for the arrival of the bride and her "entourage".This entourage generally arrives in elegant cars or in horse-drawn coaches, specially hired for the occasion. The bride's entourage normally consists of the bride, the bride's father and all the various bridesmaids, maids of honour, flower girls and page boys that are intended to attend her.
  • During the ceremony the bride and groom make their marriage vows. Marriage vows are promises a couple makes to each other during a wedding ceremony. In Western culture, these promises have traditionally included the notions of affection ("love, comfort, keep"), faithfulness ("forsaking all others"), unconditionality ("for richer or for poorer", "in sickness and in health"), and permanence ("as long as we both shall live", "until death do us part").
  • After the wedding ceremony, the bride, groom, officiant, and two witnesses generally go off to a side room to sign the wedding register. Without this the marriage is not legal and a wedding certificate cannot be issued.
  • Afterward, guests file out to throw flower petals, confetti, birdseed, or rice (uncooked) over the newly-married couple for good luck.
  • Finally, a photographic session ensues of the couple leaving the church.
nice day for a white wedding
Nice Day for a White Wedding

The Western custom of a bride wearing a white wedding dress, came to symbolize purity in the Victorian era (despite popular misconception and the hackneyed jokes of situation comedies the white dress did not actually indicate virginity, which was actually symbolized by a face veil).

an old poem
An Old Poem
  • Before the white wedding dress became "traditional" an old poem (which seems to favour blue) sang the praises or woes of various colour choices.

“Married in white, you will have chosen all right. Married in grey, you will go far away. Married in black, you will wish yourself back. Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead. Married in blue, you will always be true.Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.Married in green, ashamed to be seen,Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow. Married in brown, you’ll live out of town. Married in pink, your spirits will sink."

the reception
The reception
  • After the ceremony there is usally a reception at which the married couple, the couple's parents, the best man and the wedding entourage greet each of the guests. At such events it is traditional to eat and drink. During the reception a number of speeches and/or toasts are given in honour of the couple.
  • Any dancing is commonly started by the bride and groom, usually termed the "Bridal Waltz", but dancing an actual waltz is comparatively rare - often the couple chooses their favourite piece of music or a song.
  • An arranged dance between the bride and her father is also traditional. Sometimes the groom will cut in halfway through the dance, symbolizing the bride leaving her father and joining her new husband
have your cake and eat it
Have your cake and eat it
  • A wedding is often followed by a wedding reception, at which an elaborate, tiered, wedding cake is served. Traditionally this is a fruit cake. Often there are a couple of little figures on top of the cake, normally they are a representation of the bride and groom in formal wedding attire.
  • It is considered lucky for the couple to cut the cake together. A portion is usually stored, and eaten by the couple at their first wedding anniversary, or at the christening of their first child. The cake can be frozen and if the top tier of the cake is fruitcake, it can be stored for a great length of time.
british wedding traditions
British Wedding Traditions
  • The happy couple toast each other. (This has nothing to do with sliced bread.)
The couple cut the cake together, this symbolizes their first meal as husband and wife (see above).
The bride may throw her bouquet to the assembled group of all unmarried women in attendance, with folklore suggesting the person who catches it will be the next to wed. (A fairly recent equivalent has the groom throwing the bride's garter to the assembled unmarried men; the man who catches it is supposedly the next to wed.)
On arriving back home it is traditional for the husband to carry his wife into their new home. This is called carrying the bride over the threshold
what is your choice
what is your choice?
  • If you are going to marry, which wedding would you choose? A Chinese traditional wedding? A British one? Or both? At first we think there may be a lot of people will choosing the last one, but, it seems that there still a lot of people quite like the Chinese style.

an investigation into the younger about what kind of wedding will they choose when they are going to get married, the Chinese style, the western style or they’ll choose both of the two? And the result is as follow:

As we can easily see from the table above, men like the western style most, then both, and the least number of them have chosen the Chinese style. The condition is different for the women, and most of their choice is both of the two styles, then the Chinese style and finally the western.
the reasons of their choices
the reasons of their choices
  • The men who chose the western style said they thought wedding of western style would bring them less trouble, while it’s just the reason why some of the women didn’t choose it: “it is too simple to me ,I even want my wedding to be the most flourish in the world, and the Chinese style(or only both the styles) take us more time and maybe more money to show the importance of my wedding.” ;
  • However, there are still many people did not care much about whether it is troublesome on the appearance but the very “feeling”. So , maybe some of them thought wedding in the western style is romantic enough , some thought the Chinese style is much happier for them to find the feeling of happiness , and some thought both the two feelings is important equally so they chose the both.
in my opinion
In my opinion
  • That is because of the development of the “globally”. As the traffic and communication developing fast, people from the west and the east communicate with each other more and more. You see, we Chinese have used to the old traditional wedding style for thousands of years and we almost begin feeling annoyed about it when the western culture such as the wedding culture comes to our country and the whole nation as a sign of “fashion” and “romantic”, especially with their stronger nation supporting behind, in a sudden. We are amazed and only know to open and stretch our arms to welcome the “fresh air”.
嫁娶.山东画报出版社 2004
  • 百年好合 图说古代婚姻文化 广陵书社 2004
  • Chinese wedding culture
  • 中西婚俗文化及其差异
  • Western Marriage Customs 西方国家婚礼习俗
  • Chinese wedding tradition Contributed By: I. Rutledge
  • http://www.learnenglish.