Wedding and funeral are the two most important events in Chinese people’s life. It is called Hong Bai Er Shi (the red and white events in Chinese). Wedding is considered as the Hong (red) event and funeral as the Bai (white) event. The color red represents happiness, and the color white represents sadness.
Wedding and the Role of Matchmakers
A traditional Chinese wedding has a lot of formalities to follow. In the past, all Chinese marriages are arranged by the parents of the bride and the groom. The couple has never met each other before the wedding, and girls are not allowed to choose their husband freely. Some marriage arrangements are even made before the groom and bride are born.
Normally, the bride’s or groom’s parents hire a matchmaker (Mei Po in Chinese) to find a match for their child. A drawing of the girl’s face is given to the matchmaker, and the matchmaker brings the drawing to show the potential groom’s parents. In some occasions, the groom’s family also hires a matchmaker to make a proposal to a specific girl that they want as daughter-in-law. This is called Ti Qin in Chinese. If the two families agree, the matching is confirmed and the wedding process proceeds.
The Wedding Process
The first procedure is engagement, which is the procedure that the groom’s family sends valuables to the bride’s family to show their sincere intention to take their daughter as the daughter-in-law. Then a fortuneteller picks a date for the wedding. The groom and bride’s date and time of birth are used when choosing the wedding date. Informational such as the couple’s zodiacs, the five elements of the wedding date, the Yin and Yang are taken into consideration. Chinese people emphasize a lot on the date because they believe a good date brings happiness to the couple and a bad date ruins the couple’s life.
On the date of the wedding, the groom’s family sends a group of people to bride’s house and escorts her to the family. The people who escort the bride play trumpets, carry a marriage sedan, and light firecrackers while heading to the bride’s house.
The bride’s family sends dowry with their daughter to groom’s house, and the bride sits in the marriage sedan with her face covered by a red handkerchief. Usually the bride and her parents shed tears when parting because it is not easy for the bride to see her parents after marriage.
The New Marriage Law in China
In the past, it is very normal for relatives to get married. This is especially popular in royal families because they want to keep their power and wealth within the family. However, to avoid genetic diseases, the marriage law of the People Republic of China states that immediate family members and extended family members within three generations are not allowed to get married.