A Malaysian Chinese Wedding Ceremony

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Chinese all around the world practice different customs when it comes to the wedding day. The very traditional Chinese marriage rituals have since been modified according to different countries’ customs especially for the young and modern couples. I would like to take this opportunity to share the Chinese wedding ceremony customs that the modern Malaysian Chinese families typically follow, on the actual wedding day. It was my younger brother’s wedding last weekend and I was happy to witness the whole process that started early in the morning, with both the bride and groom getting ready at their respective houses.

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Bride’s father getting ready for prayers

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Offerings to the Gods

On the actual wedding day, the bride would get ready with her wedding gown and wait in her room for the groom to ‘collect’ or ‘fetch’ her back to the groom’s house, a process fondly known as ‘Chip San Leong’. While waiting for the groom to arrive, the bride’s parents would set up a table of offerings for the Gods to ensure that the couple has a happy and long-lasting marriage, and to bless them on their wedding day.

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Burning joss sticks

According to the auspicious time set by the fortune-teller, the groom and his entourage would arrive, accompanied with loud, blaring car horns along the way, to signify to the rest of the neighbourhood that someone is getting married! The bridal car would be parked outside the house, followed by the groom’s buddies or ‘heng tai’. The groom, however, would have to remain in the car until the bride’s brother opens the door for him.

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Bridal car

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The groom and his ‘heng tais’

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Waiting patiently in the car

The bride’s younger brother (or cousin brother if she has no brother) would then open the groom’s car door, so that the groom could proceed to the house to see the bride.

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Out of the car

But it’s not so easy! The house was locked! And all the bridesmaids (chi mui) were blocking the groom’s entourage from entering. In order to enter the house, the groom and heng tais would have to go through several ‘tests’ set up by the bridesmaids. This was done to make the ceremony more fun, and to make the groom overcome some obstacles before getting to the bride.

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Bridesmaids blocking the entrance

Some of the games played that day included finishing up a plate of sandwiches. Now they might look very yummy from the outside, but these bridesmaids had put in various ingredients that made the sandwich taste quite horrible. Perhaps this was a test to the groom so that in the future, no matter what his wife cooks, he’ll have to finish it!

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Sandwiches for the groom and his brothers

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Thick layer of salt! and a slice of lemon among others

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Cheers

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Very salty!

After the sandwiches, they were made to drink glasses of weird-looking drinks. True to their spirits, the guys lived up to expectations and finished the gross-looking beverage.

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What is this?

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Would you drink it?

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Wonder how it tasted

The eating and drinking was just the beginning of a series of tests. Soon, the girls prepared a layer of cling film patterned with tomato ketchup on both sides. The task now was for the guys to lick the ketchup clean, on both sides of the film! And they had to do it simultaneously.

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Cling film with tomato ketchup

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Licking it clean

The guys completed the task well and thought they could enter the house, but no, there was another task in store.

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No entry… yet!

Each guy was to put on lipstick on their lips, and make an ‘I <3 U’ sentence by kissing on pieces of paper pasted on the groom’s body.

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Applying lipstick

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Kiss the paper

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Getting carried away with kissing…

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The final product

Soon, all the bridesmaids were inside the house, a sign that they were ready to let the groom enter, but only after a little reward. This was when the groom’s brothers would help to negotiate a price with the bridesmaids, reaching an agreement such that they would be allowed to enter the house.

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A red packet for the bridesmaids to open the door

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First stage passed!

Little did they know that there were still a couple of challenges awaiting them inside the house, before the bride’s room! The first task was to kiss the word ‘Angie’ on the papers pasted on the wall. Based on their previous experience, the guys were already expert in this! :)

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Teamwork is crucial

Finally, the last task that morning was for the groom to painstakingly peel the skin of some grapes, as a sign that he would do so for the bride in the future – and to be a patient, loving and kind husband.

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Peeling the grapes with concentration

While peeling the grapes, the groom was asked to give “20 reasons why I love Angie” and he had to say it loud enough that the bride could hear it from the room. When she was finally satisfied, the door was unlocked.

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“I love Angie because…”

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Let’s go in!

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Mission accomplished!

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Kiss the bride

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The newly-weds

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with the bridesmaids and groomsmen

After fetching the bride from the room, they now had to go through the Chinese Tea Ceremony, where they would serve tea to their parents as a sign of getting their blessing.

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Tea ceremony

In return, the parents would usually give something to the newly-weds, usually in the form of jewelry.

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Gold ring for the groom

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Bracelet for the bride

Tea would also be served to other elder relatives of the bride, with the sequence following their seniority in the family. For relatives younger than the bride, tea would not be served, instead it was a shake of hands or a hug.

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Hugs for younger relatives of the family

When the tea ceremony was completed, it was time to go back to the groom’s house, where the groom’s family would be waiting to welcome the new bride home.

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Father of the bride holds an umbrella as a sign of protecting the bride

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To the groom’s house

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In the bridal suite

Over at the groom’s family, the same prayers and rituals were repeated. It was then followed by another Tea Ceremony, for the groom’s family and relatives.

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Tea with red dates for a sweet marriage

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Tea for the groom’s parents

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Look at how happy they were – bottoms up!

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Jewelry for the newly-weds

After the tea ceremony was completed, relatives and friends were treated to a light lunch before they left to get ready for the banquet dinner at night. The whole morning was filled with activities that everything seemed to happen so quickly. My brother is now officially married, and I hereby welcome Angie to the family as my new sister-in-law. :)

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Congratulations to my brother and his wife, Angie!

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Comments

  1. says

    Gosh! Roast piglet and all… I’ve never seen anything like that here. Wish I could get to witness one someday. Not into those brothr and sister stuff though… You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all – gets so boring after a while. The trend is catching on here too though… :(

  2. says

    hmmm, being brothers are really a tough job.. but i think the tricks are still mild lah, not the worst one that i’ve seen.. haha!! the worst one i’ve seen is really humiliating.. the sisters get the brothers to take off their shirts, wear bras with hold, and slot in packets of soy bean milk inside, then ask them to suck off the milk from each other.. that’s really @#$%^~~

  3. says

    ok…this is a very very nice and fun moment..but i still felt kissing with lipstick on the bridegroom is quite gay…euuuwww..LOL wish your brother and your sister in law..WHITE HEAD TILL OLD!! XD

  4. says

    Congrats to the newlywed couple!

    I was a “brother” for my friend before too, tough man.. LOL

    All the best to them, and thank you for sharing this happy occasion! =)

  5. says

    That’s quite a tradition…first time I’ve seen one. Thanks for sharing!

    Btw how are you? I haven’t been blogging much but slowly inching back to it again.

  6. huda says

    Hi and good evening sis/bro. Im huda from international islamic university malaysia. Im sorry for disturbing u. Actually, i interested with chinese wedding n want to explore more about that in my assignment. Sis/bro.. can u help me by give one picture about chinese wedding? Im really appreciate it. I will use it only for my assignment n ur name would be written in appreciation page. Really thanks. 

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