Marriage by Wong Yee Lee
ancient China, a man could have as many concubines as possible
after the first wife. It was possible that the youngest
concubine would be a teenager while the husband could be
an ancient old man. Poor families sold their young daughters
to rich families just because they could get some money
from the rich family and also get rid of a useless female
in the family.
1950, the Chinese government has promulgated a law which
stated that one man can only get married with one woman.
It offends the law for anyone who has more than one wife.
the past, parents arranged marriages were very common. Usually
young people would have their spouse decided by their parents.
Sometimes young people could only have the first look of
their spouse at their wedding. It was also common that sometimes
an arranged marriage could be organized even before the
child was born as long as parents from both families agreed.
modern days, things have changed quite a lot. Free love
prevails and lovers can choose to get married with whoever
they love. Of course, in order to show their respect to
their parents, formal agreement has still to be obtained
prior to any proper marriage procedure.
more modern, matchmakers businesses are all thriving just
because sometimes people find it a bit hard to find their
Before getting married, young people have to pay a formal
visit to each other's parents. When visiting the girl's
parents, the boy has to bring with him the betrothal gifts
in order to show sincerity. When the gifts are received,
then both the boy and the girl are engaged. When the girl
visits the boy's parents, the parents have to prepare a
formal gift for the future daughter-in-law.
China, usually the newly wedded couple will move to live
with the boy's family. Sometimes it is not surprising to
see that they will live with the girl's family. However,
in these modern days, young couples would prefer to live
alone without the parents if they can afford to pay for
a new flat or house.
of the wedding procedure is that the bride has to prepare
a dowry to be brought to the bridegroom's family on the
wedding day. A dowry is things bought by the bride's family,
which includes blackest, clothes, accessories, daily necessities
comes next is to choose a good day to hold the wedding.
It is very important in the Chinese culture. A wedding,
being such an important day in a person's life, has to be
held on a day which symbolizes goodness. People will choose
the best day based on the Chinese Lunar calendar, or on
any festival days.
A formal Chinese wedding requires the bridegroom to pick
up the bride at the bride's home after respectfully greeted
the parents-in-law to be. The couple-to-be will then go
to the bridegroom's home, where the bride will greet her
parents-in-law to be, or to the banquet location. If they
choose to go to the bridegroom's home, the young couple
will have to greet the parents-in-law to be with a cup of
tea each and the parents will return the daughter-in-law
to be with a red packet of money inside. Similar to the
western culture, the bride and bridegroom will be accompanied
by bridesmaids and best men and they are usually still non-married.
very important procedure is the banquet. All relatives and
friends will be invited and they will wish the new couple
with all the best. At the banquet, the newly wed has to
drink half glass of wine for a pair of glasses linked by
a ribbon. After that the newly wed has to cross-hand and
drink the other half of the wine. It is believed that after
this ceremony the newly wed will love each other more dearly.
some parts of China, the fish served in the banquet should
not be eaten totally. The head, tail and the whole skeleton
of the fish should be left untouched so as to symbolize
a good start and end of a marriage.
the banquet, friends of the new couple will usually continue
the night by deliberately disturbing the new couple with
a few games. Games will include different quests for some
difficult performances or questions. Unfortunately to the
newly wed that these games usually last till very late in
in the modern days, many young people try to skip most of
these rituals or ceremonies. They do that either because
they think that new generations should not be confined by
these old traditions, or some do so just because of economical
reasons of trying not to spend as much money as possible.
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