Chinese wedding traditions: 6. Bridal chamber rituals

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One of the most romantic moment on a traditional Chinese wedding happens in the wedding chamber where the couple sits together on the wedding bed and perform some rituals.

This part is quite traditional, in modern Chinese weddings, we don’t see it any more.

1. Unveil the bride
If you have been following my previous blogs you will see that up until now, the bride wears the Chinese wedding veil which covers the head entirely. It is very probable that the bride comes from far away and it is the first time even the groom sees her.

It is the most magical and romantic moment when the groom uncovers the wedding veil of the bride, it is also the first time that they see each other on the wedding day.

watertwon-wedding-inpost

2. Drink wine from each other
In Chinese we call it “交杯酒”, they drink wines when their arms cross each other. Because the sound of wine(jiu) in Chinese sounds like another Chinese character(久) which means long time, this is to symbolize that they will be together forever.

drink

3. Tie a knot on each other
This is a wish to the new couple that their hearts are always united.

4. Eat dumplings that are not totally cooked
You might already noticed, in Chinese culture, a lot of rituals can be explained thanks to homophonic.
What happens here is, the bride sits on the bed, the groom’s family give her some dumplings which are not entirely cooked. While she eats it, people will ask: “Is it raw(生不生)?”, she has to answer firmly:”Raw(生)!”

Yes it does not make any sense in English, but if you know a bit of Chinese, you will know that the character “生” actually has two meanings: Raw and to give birth.

dumpling

Below is a video from a Chinese TV drama which shows all the things happen in the wedding chamber. Just to clarify the couple here does not look happy because they are forced to get married.

5. Blood is expected on the sheet the next morning
There are 2 traditional Chinese fun facts:
a. Traditionally all the girls should only lose their virginity on the wedding night.
b. When a girl loses her virginity, there would be blood.
So to judge if the new couple have had sex during the wedding night, the servants look on the sheets if there is blood.
This is a clip from a Chinese TV series that the couple was faking the blood on the sheet.

The rituals actually differ from region to region in China, I wrote the ones based on my knowledge and internet.
If you are interested in more about Chinese traditional wedding, there are some links:
http://www.chinese-wedding-guide.com/
https://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/marriage/

More about Chinese weddings:
1. Wedding decorations
2. Gate crash
3. Tea ceremony
4. Wedding outfit and transportation
5. Formal ceremony – Bai tang
6. Bridal Chamber
7. Chinese way of wedding proposal
8. Pre-wedding photo shooting

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