The traditional Chinese wedding proposal was not as romantic as nowadays.
Modern Chinese or Western wedding proposal:
In Chinese culture, getting married is considered as joint of 2 families, the traditional wedding proposal is actually initiated by the groom’s families.
The groom’s parents visit the bride’s family and offer them a grand wedding gift including food, cigarettes, wine, jewelries made of gold, silver, jade and so on.
Nowadays the wedding gift is most probably a red envelope with cash inside.
Engagement ring is not part of the wedding proposal!
No, we don’t have engagement ring. In the wedding proposal gift, the bride might get some precious jewelries like necklace made of gold, or a piece of rare jade. Most of the gifts are for the family of the bride in order to thank them for raising the daughter.
Actually I don’t know why traditionally engagement ring is not a thing in Chinese culture, in fact, wedding rings also don’t exist, the ancient Chinese are not obliged to wear wedding rings after marriage.
How do we identify if a Chinese person is married or not?
So we cannot see from someone’s finger if he or she is married, is there another way to identify?
For ladies you can see it from her hair style, this custom has been kept for thousands of years.
Basically, the ladies need to put their hair in a bun/up-do after getting married. This is because hair was considered as most precious and sexy part of a girl showing to other people. After getting married, the lady should hide it so that they do not get attention from other guys.
Before marriage Han dynasty(206 BC–220 AD):
After marriage Han dynasty(206 BC–220 AD):
Before marriage Republic of China(1912-1949):
After marriage Republic of China(1912-1949):
What about a guy?
There is no hair or outfit change before and after a guy gets married, in fact there is no need, because monogamy is only introduced around 1930, ancient Chinese guys do not have to show others “Attention, I’m married!”
As you can see, the difference is quite big between Chinese traditional wedding proposal and western proposal. Although we have got more and more international, tradition is still driving us at different levels.
Now I am crossing my fingers, hoping that I get an engagement ring if my bf proposes 😀 Just kidding.
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