If you are Chinese or helping to plan a Chinese wedding, you might need to know some Chinese Wedding traditions and superstitions embedded in the culture. These beliefs have been practised and passed down since ancient times and some have even evolved to fit today’s modern world.
Some wedding superstitions and Feng Shui beliefs are still firmly held by the older generation, but the younger generations are still willing to learn and follow as everyone hopes for a happy and blessed marriage. Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts as a guest or host to ensure a successful and auspicious Chinese wedding day.
Auspicious Wedding Date
A Chinese almanac called “Tong Shu” (通书) is used to locate the most auspicious date and times for the big event. The finding is based on the couple’s Ba Zi Compatibility which gives a piece of in-depth information about themselves from a series of calculations. The ultimate objective of this is to bring success and harmony to the relationship.
Generally, in the lunar calendar months of March, July and September are advised not to hold any wedding. March, there is The Qingming Festival (清明节); July commonly known as the Hungry Ghost Festival or Zhong Yuan Festival (中元节) and September we have the Chung Yeung Festival (重陽節). All these festivals are related to death and spirits so it is not auspicious to have big events performing during these periods.
Refrain From Certain Events
Do take note that three months before the wedding, the couple is to avoid attending events such as a funeral or wake, another wedding and a baby shower.
“Touch Wood”! If one of the parents from either couple passes away before the wedding, the couple has two options. Get married within 100 days or wait for 3 years after the deceased. A person in mourning is not allowed to attend any form of celebration within the 100 days too, as any joyful celebration is considered disrespectful to the deceased. Therefore, they will not be allowed to attend any wedding celebrations as well.
No Meeting The Day Before Wedding
In ancient times, marriages were appointed and arranged by the parents, thus seeing your partner the day or night before the wedding is considered “inappropriate”. I think this is similar to the western wedding traditions as it is believed to bring bad luck to the couple.
Even though arranged marriages are not commonly practised today, this rule still applies in a modern Chinese wedding. But some observed it in a modified way by simply not sleeping together under the same roof the night before instead and making it count.
Making The New Bed
An auspicious date is chosen to decorate the new bed for the couple. This is done by inviting a so-called “blessed person” meaning he/she has a happy family and enjoys good health and wealth. Red bedding with double happiness (囍)sign for good luck; lily buds for harmony; lotus seeds, peanut, and red dates for fertility, all these are been placed on the bed for symbolic blessing. Choosing the right person is crucial, the wrong one could cause misfortune to the couple according to Chinese superstitions. When all is done, the new bed should not be disturbed until the actual day.
The Wedding Dress
It is considered very inauspicious to wear the wedding dress twice. So, when during the fitting process try to leave out small components of the outfit such as the veil or shoes (must be new shoes), just don’t fully ensemble the entire wedding outfit. It is believed that it will lead to the cancellation or postponement of the wedding.
Why Do Bridesmaids Dress the Same? Why, isn’t it obvious, to confuse and keep away the evil spirits of course! I hope the groom is not confused… In addition, there is a curse that if a lady who is a bridesmaid more than three times will gather the negative effect on her martial luck and cause her to have difficulties finding someone to settle down with.
Compatibility Chinese Zodiac Sign
The Chinese are very particular about the compatibility of certain Chinese zodiac signs that are deemed to clash with the couple’s zodiac sign or on that wedding day. Therefore, a person who falls under that specific zodiac sign will not be invited as bridesmaids and best-men. However, it is alright for them to attend the wedding banquet. So, don’t feel offended when you are been asked for your zodiac sign before being invited, at least they consider you as one of the bridesmaids and Best-men, someone close to them.
A Clash Of Blessings And Joy
During an outing for your photo session or along the way, if the couple happens to encounter another wedding couple, that is considered the clash of blessing and luck喜冲喜. In this situation, the best man from two bridal parties will exchange a red packet on the couple’s behalf to neutralize the effect of the clash.
The Red Umbrella
According to the traditions and customs, the matchmaker or maid of honour will hold a brand-new red umbrella to shelter the bride wherever she walks outside. This symbolised fertility in marriage and ward off evil spirits. The umbrella must be kept properly after the wedding to maintain good luck and fertility in their household. Never give or lend it out as it means giving away your luck and blessing.
Eating A Fish In Wedding Banquet
The food at the wedding banquet symbolised luck, prosperity, health, and joy. steamed fish is usually one of the main dishes served as it represents abundance. It is important to know that it is taboo to turn the fish over or break the fishbone when eating the fish. By doing so is like cursing the newlywed’s misfortune.