Traditional chinese wedding practices have been an integral part of the chinese culture, with each dialect bringing unique practices. For example, a Cantonese Bride might be doing something different as compared to a Teochew Bride. In this article, we will tell you 10 important things to take note if you are a Teochew getting married!
1. 四点金 (si dian jin)
四点金 is a traditional custom that is practiced by most Teochew families. The direct translation of it to english is “4 touches of gold” – a 4-piece set of wedding jewellery that consists of a necklace, ring, bangle, and a pair of earrings. These sets of 4 pieces are presented to the bride as a betrothal gift by the groom’s mother.
2. Chinese Wedding Gifts – Food Items
Interestingly, for different dialect groups, different food is being presented in the wedding gifts. For the Teochew traditions, some examples of the food items are – Teochew Peanuts & Sesame Candy, which represents both a good and sweet beginning and ending; Teochew Prosperity Biscuits and lastly cans of Pork Legs in boxes.
3. Hair Combing
The hair combing ceremony signifies that the bride and groom have grown up into adults and are ready to face the next phase of life. Hair combing is usually carried out at the bride and groom’s respective houses the night before the big day. This ceremony has more meaning towards the Teochew traditions as they are more elaborated when performing this ritual.
4. Fetching The Bride
During the big day, the bride is supposed to be fetched by the groom. However, it is not easy as the groom has to go past the bridesmaids’ tasks before he can take the bride away. The groom can seek help from his best men to help him clear the tasks. This is known as the customary gate crashing. After all tasks are completed, the groom still has to present a big red packet to the bridesmaids as means of compensating their troubles. Lastly, he will be able to leave the house with the bride. The important part is this: The bride will be sheltered under a red umbrella in order to ward off any “negative elements”. Usually, for Teochews, a male elder such as the bride’s father will hold the umbrella and escort her to the car.
5. Tossing the fan away
For Teochews, when the car is driving away from the bride’s house, the bride will toss away a fan, which signifies that she is throwing away her bad habits. The bride will also bring another fan and handkerchief to the groom’s house. This signifies having bountiful offsprings.
6. Setting up matrimonial bed
The setting up is usually done by the groom’s parents or grandparents. The ritual starts by changing the bed linen into a new one with auspicious colours. Items from the betrothal gift ceremony and other special items are placed on the bed. When everything is done, a special chant will be said by everyone that will bless everyone with a happy marriage.
7. Entering the groom’s house
The couple will not be greeted by the groom’s family at the doorway. The family will be avoiding them until they enter the bridal room. This is to prevent any hard feelings between the bride and her new family members. The couple has to pray to their ancestors and then enter the bridal room. Only after the couple has entered the bridal room should the family be able to see them.
8. The bride returning to her home
Traditionally, after three days, the bride is supposed to return to her home to visit. However, nowadays the bride usually returns home on the same day. The bride is supposed to change into another outfit like a simpler dress. Another tea ceremony will be held and the couple has to prepare gifts for the visit.
9. Tea ceremony
A tea ceremony represents the formal introduction of the couple as newly-weds. It is usually held in the couple’s respective homes, but some may do it at one go since everyone is at the same venue. Tea is being offered to the parents first, followed by their other elders.
10. Dowry items
Some of the dowry items include the four points of gold as well as a red fan. Ultimately, dowry items such as tea sets and bowl sets are mandatory items. Some mothers actually hand down the tea sets that were used from her own wedding.
In conclusion, these are some pointers to take note of when you are getting married (especially when you are marrying a teochew!), however, some marriage things are subjected to change according to how both you and your future partner’s family want to plan!