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Traditionally, after the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds serve tea (holding the teacups with both hands), inviting the groom’s elders to drink tea by addressing them by formal title, e.g. eldest brother or third sister.

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The general rule is to have the woman on the left side and the man on the right side. The people being served will sit in chairs. During olden times the groom and bride will kneel, but nowadays most do them standing up.

The newlyweds serve tea in order, starting with the groom’s parents then proceeding from the oldest family members to the youngest, e.g. the groom’s parents, his oldest uncle and auntie, then to his brothers and sisters.

The bride serving tea to the groom’s mother.

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Serving tea to the groom’s eldest brother.

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The groom’s eldest sister.

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In return, the newlyweds receive lucky red envelopes/packets (“lai see” which means lucky) stuffed with money or jewelry. The helpers, who are usually women blessed with a happy marriage or wealth and chosen by  the fortune teller or groom’s mother, also get lucky red envelopes/packet stuffed with money from those being served. These envelopes are placed on the platter which holds the teacups.

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With this ends the wedding ceremony according to chinese customs.

 

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Last week I took a leave from work to attend and help my girlfriend’s family in the preparation of her youngest uncle wedding. I took a few pictures here and there before at the end of the day, I was one of the drivers for the elderly parents and some relatives to the wedding dinner at Sea View Restaurant.

 

I thought I was early when I arrived at her house at 7:30 a.m. But I was kinda late since most of the relatives as well as the groom’s ‘brothers’ were already there. The groom’s entourage were getting ready and planning to go to the bride’s house to fetch her. They were seen whispering among themselves about how to counter-attack the hurdles that they are going to face later.

 

When they have decided how to go about that, they took off.

 

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While the groom was away, the house was a buzz of activity, refreshments were prepared and taken out. This is to let the guests have something to eat while the couple go through some customary rites during the ceremony.

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This pair of candles are known as the dragon and phoenix candles. They always come in pairs and are decorated one with a dragon and the other with a phoenix, as well as the double happiness symbol. In olden days, these traditional candles would be lit in the bridal chamber on the wedding night with the intention to drive away evil spirits.

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The happy parents (my girlfriend’s grandfather and grandmother) of the youngest uncle waiting for the arrival of the couple, both looking rather handsome and pretty in their new clothes.

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Some of the relatives lingering at the front entrance waiting for the arrival of the couple.

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And then we heard, the car horns honking on the street signifying the arrival of the groom and the bride. According to Chinese customs, the groom must not open the car door when he arrives with the bride. Since this is the youngest uncles, the nephew was given the chance to open the door. He must pass two oranges to the bride before opening the door. The two oranges will be left in the bridal car for good fortune.

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The groom then escorted the bride to the house to offer some prayers.

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The chinese were mainly Taoists or ancestor worshipers before foreign religions such as Christianity, Muslim or Buddhism enter China. Taoists believed in the power of heaven and earth to witness important events on earth. It was also believed that a parent or family elder must acknowledge a union for it to be official.

 

In traditional chinese wedding ceremony the bride and groom will first pray to heaven and earth, then to the groom parents or family elders and lastly bow to each other 一拜天地,二拜高堂,夫妻交拜. The three prayers sealed the marriage. The couple was escorted into the bridal chamber, the equivalent of the bridal room, to consummate their marriage.

 

Modern chinese wedding skip the ritual of the three prayers. The bride and groom will enter the bridal room directly after entering the groom’s home. Groom’s family members will hide in the house to avoid clashing of fortune with the new couple. After the family members have returned to the family hall, the couple will join them.

The couple in the bridal room.

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The couple are served some sweet dessert consisting of two eggs and some other stuff which I forgot to ask what it was, this is suppose to symbolize unity and happiness for the newlyweds.

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Traditionally, the bride’s home visit is three days after the chinese wedding ceremony. For efficiency, modern chinese wedding usually compressed all the necessary events into a single day.

The newlyweds leaving the groom’s house to their new house.

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The arrival of the couple at their new home.

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Both of them holding miniature lights to signify something (happiness??) looking rather happy about the whole settings and the smooth ceremony.

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The pair of cute teddies sitting in front of the bridal car. Watch out for Part 2 coming soon.

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Myth 1 – Husbands and wives should always be best friends.

Fact – Best friends are almost always of the same gender. No matter how close a married couple are, men tend to relate best to men, and women get along better with other women.

Myth 2 – Marriage can fulfill all your dreams.

Fact – Not always. People should not marry for the sake of marriage because the relationship may lack joy, kindness and love – leaving them miserable.

Myth 3 – Husbands and wives should do everything together.

Fact – It’s best for mates to pursue their own interests. There’s no reason why a husband should be made to go to the ballet, or the wife should be forced to watch football.

Myth 4 – Good husbands do househild repairs, good wives do laundry.

Fact – Not necessarily. Rather than fight over who should do certain chores, sometimes its best for one mate to break the sexual barrier and do his or her mate’s job.

Myth 5 – Having a child will improve a bad marriage.

Fact – No, it won’t. All the hard work of caring for the child will further weaken the marriage. A child will only strengthen a marriage if it’s already a good relationship.

Myth 6 – Marriage should be a 50-50 partnership.

Fact – Mates wouldn’t keep score. Some people will naturally give more than others in a marriage, and worry over giving too much or too little can take love out of the relationship.

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Myth 7 – Exciting, romantic love makes a good marriage.

Fact – Passionate love burns out quickly. But warm, affectionate love will bring you lasting security and comfort.

Myth 8 – An unhappy marriage is better than a broken home.

Fact – Children of a miserable couple say they’d prefer the relative peace and quiet that follows a divorce. If a couple is unhappy, they shouldn’t stay together just “for the children’s sake”.

Myth 9 – Competition between spouses adds sparkle to a marriage.

Fact – Competition often leads to hostility.

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