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Marriage Intercultural Appreciation December,2004. Group from Class 4 Members: 秦海燕 、袁艳芬、刘桥君、韩小丽、廖丽君、吴云燕. Introduction. Marriage is both important in Chinese and Western Culture. However, the way to courtship( 求爱 ), to celebrate and the customs are quite different.

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marriage intercultural appreciation december 2004

Marriage Intercultural AppreciationDecember,2004

Group from Class 4

Members: 秦海燕、袁艳芬、刘桥君、韩小丽、廖丽君、吴云燕

  • Marriage is both important in Chinese and Western Culture.
  • However, the way to courtship(求爱), to celebrate and the customs are quite different.
  • What do you think after this display?
  • Do you prefer the Chinese one or the Western one?
  • Let’s see…
who is responsible for the entire wedding
Who is responsible for the entire wedding?
  • Western: the bride’s family
  • China: the groom’s family
  • Western
  • The man would give an engagement ring to the girl he loves.
  • History
  • In Bible, it is said that in ancient times, man courtship by giving a ring to his loved girl.
  • In the 9th century, the ordination(颁布法令) of the pope Nicholas I prescribed that ring is indispensable for the man to propose marriage formally.
in china
In China
  • Many nationalities have interesting ways of courtship.

The Jinuo nationality use flowers to express love. If a girl wears a flower, that means she is willing to accept a suitor. If she takes a fancy to the suitor, the girl will ask a child to send the flower to the young man. If he accepted, the pair will "talk" about engagement by singing in antiphonal(交互轮唱) style. On the wedding ceremony, the groom must have that flower embroidered on his jacket to pledge his love.

another example
Another Example
  • The Bulangs begin their romances by dying teeth for each other. If they fall in love with each other, the young man will have a white sweet-scented osmanthus(木犀属植物) sent to the girl. And if the girl accepted the osmanthus, they will arrange secret meetings.
marriage color
Marriage Color
  • Western: White
  • Westerners, especially those religious Christians who believe in Jesus thought that the combination of a woman and a man is saintly(圣洁的). It signify the begin of a saintly life to procreate. So it should use saintly color---white. As a result, Western marriage is decorated with all white colors--- decorated church by white color, white dress, white gloves and white lily.
china red
China: Red
  • Unlike Western tradition, the color red dominates traditional Chinese weddings. It stands for festival and happiness. Chinese like to use auspicious color. Chinese people tend to use or wear red to add a joyful atmosphere of such a festival occasion.
  • The groom and bride are not allowed to wear clothes that is black, blue or grey as these colors signify grief and may bring bad luck to the marriage.
the wedding ceremony activities and the reception
The Wedding Ceremony, Activities and The Reception
  • Western:
  • The wedding is a very significant occasion. Several weeks before the wedding, all friends and relatives would receive invitations. If you were invited, then you should wear very formal clothes. The wedding is usually held in a church at daytime. The bride arrive the church with double veil. Following the maids of honor and the best man(伴郎), bride’s father will lead her daughter to the front. Then the groom take over the responsibility from the father of the bride. To point out, the maids of honor(伴娘) should wear full dress and the best man with evening wear. It is not suitable for ladies to wear trousers whatever color it is. Also, every lady would wear a flower to show the respect of the newlyweds. The churchman speak and ask the bride and the groom whether they are willing to marry. After they both said ‘Yes’, the ceremony is declared to end when the groom kiss the bride.

Then, the groom and the bride leave the church by a car, which is decorated by balloons, colorful belts and shaving cream. When they are leaving, friends always purchase them in cars, and blow horns to tease them. The bride will throw the ball to the back as soon as she step out of the church, the maid of honor who is lucky enough to get the ball is said to be the next bride.

  • After the ceremony there is often a party, called a “reception: where the food is so plentiful that it almost takes the spotlight away from the couple. The kind of food varies, depending on the cultural heritage of the couple, and on the finances and preferences of the bride’s family. It is the family of the bride which more often foots the bill 12 for the reception. And the wedding cake sits in a corner waiting to be cut. Tradition is that the bride and the room cut the cake, holding the knife together. The bride and groom often feed each other a piece of cake before serving the guests. The reception gives the wedding guests and opportunity to congratulate the newlyweds.
at the banquet
At the Banquet
  • Guests at the wedding banquet are formally introduced to family members of both families, and will bring a red packet and sign a guestbook. Wedding banquets may become quite large: often many over a hundred tables, depending on the financial status of the groom’s family. Traditionally wedding banquet were held in the home or home compound, but nowadays it is held in a restaurant or hotel.
  • Alcoholic drinks— uncommon in Chinese culture are considered compulsory at a wedding banquet. The couple will usually be teased and join in games at the banquet.
  • The end of the wedding comes with the signing of the marriage register, making the marriage contractually binding.
chinese wedding day
Chinese Wedding Day
  • Picking up the Bride On the day of the wedding, the groom will send a car over to the bride's family to bring the bride. The car is decorated in red.
  • Traditionally, people use carriage and it is carried by four servants. Musicians will accompany the procession and they will play wedding music all the way. A lot of gifts are also brought to the bride's family at the same time. At the bride's home, the bride will put on her bright red wedding gown and the bride's parents will give her jewelry to wear.
bride leaving home
Bride Leaving Home

As the groom's procession arrives, the groom's spokeswoman will enter the bride's house and will carry the bride on her back. The bride cannot touch the ground with her feet until she arrives at the groom's. In some regions, the bride's relatives will throw rice into the air, hoping that the chickens around will eat the rice instead of pecking at the bride. Sometimes, a red umbrella is used to shield the bride as the opening of the umbrella will symbolize her bringing many descendants to the groom's family. As the bride leaves the house, her parents and her relatives will bid her farewell as she rides the carriage and leaves home. Wealthy brides often have servant girls who will follow her to the groom's family and continue to serve her. These maids are known as ones who 'accompany the marriage'.

bride arriving at the groom s home
Bride Arriving at the Groom's Home

After the bride arrive at the groom's house, the couple will again worship the ancestors and worship the heavens and earth.

  • The pinnacle wedding celebration is held on the wedding day, usually at night. The bride’s family may hold a similar banquet the day before for their own relatives: the groom will also attend with a small group of his own relatives and thus be introduced to the bride’s wider social circle. The bridal banquet is not an obligatory part of the wedding process, and it’s holding will depend on the traditions of the bride’s family and their financial status.
other customs
Other Customs
  • Western:
  • After the ceremony, relatives and friends throw raw rice towards newlyweds’ head. This stands for procreating and have lots of babies.
  • Chinese…
combing hair
Combing Hair

The night before the wedding, both the bride and the groom needs to find a 'good fortune' woman and man to comb their hair in his/her home respectively. Both the bride and the groom needs to take shower before the event, change to some fresh new underwear and incense needs to be burnt. The bride also needs to sit next to a window where the moon can be seen. Their hair needs to be combed four times and each has a special meaning:

The first combing symbolizes: from beginning till the endThe second combing symbolizes: harmony from now till old ageThe third combing symbolizes: sons and grandsons all over the placeThe fourth combing summaries good wealth and a long-lasting marriage.


Chinese Wedding Dowry(嫁妆) List

Bride's dowry is mainly interior ornaments or daily necessities. Of course, wealthy parents always have the option of throwing in some real estate or couple of servant girls...

1.       24-carat gold jewelries; 

2.        1 pair of chopsticks to indicate "fast son"; 

3.        2 bowls tied up with red string which is called "sons and grandsons bowls"; 

4.        toilet kettle;  

5.        bed spread and pillows and quilt embroidered with dragon-phoenix design;  

6.        scissors and ruler; wallet and belt, 

7.        sliced candy; 

8.        tea sets including tea pot, tea cups and tea tray; 

9.        clothe wrapped together with cypress leaves, 

10.     lotus seeds, 

11.     lucky money (Li Shi), 

12.     dried fruit such as dragon eyes/longans.

thank you for listening

Thank you for listening.