Hubby dear’s Chinese colleague had invited us to his wedding reception. This was almost as soon as we landed in China and we were eager to have a look at their customs and sort of compare it with our's![We were newly weds then!!].

Since the proceedings were in Chinese we could not follow it and we sought the help of another Chinese friend who neither got tired of translating the events nor did she mind answering our numerous questions!

So here is what we learnt ….Read on…..

The wedding colour, it is quite standard: Red.

Red is central to the wedding theme of China . It signifies love, joy and prosperity and is used in a variety of ways in Chinese wedding traditions. The bride's wedding gown is often red, as are the wedding invitations, and wedding gift boxes or envelopes for cash gifts. Even the bride and groom's homes are decorated in red on the wedding day.

Before the party, most of the time the new couple will stand at the front door of the restaurant or hotel. They thank everyone for coming. Usually, people who come to the wedding party will give the new couple some money that is called "Hong Bao”. When almost everyone comes, the party begins.

A welcoming speech is usually performed by an MC who is hired for the occasion. After the exchange of wedding rings and other procedures the banquet begins.

The wedding banquet is probably the part of the tradition that has been very well kept. In the modern Chinese society, the wedding feast is considered to be very important. Traditionally, the groom will pay for everything but nowadays, some young couples will offer to pay for themselves.This is the most expensive part of the wedding.

During the feast, the guests are seated in round tables and seating plans are made in order to avoid guests not knowing each other being seated at the same table.

The food is of utmost importance to Chinese and in most cases only delicacies are served.

Chinese food has special symbolism: mostly wishes of happiness, longevity, or fertility. The number of courses is also significant

The wedding banquet starts with appetizers such as cold plates which consist of various sliced meats, greens, beans and various types of nuts, served chilled.

Here are some of the dishes served in the banquet....

Roast Pig- Roasted pork is a symbol of virginity.

Peking Duck and Lobster - Red is the color for happiness, so serving Peking duck and lobster would signify joy and celebration. [Peking duck is very famous.]

Serving fried chicken and duck would wish the couple to have a good life because in Chinese “red chicken” sounds like “good life.”

Crab Claws- serving the dish whole, i.e. with the head and legs, would symbolize completeness

Vegetables with Sea Cucumber- Serving sea cucumber with vegetables is a sign of selflessness because “sea cucumber” sounds like “"good heart” and this dish wishes the couple to think in a similar way – to avoid conflict.

Fish- Serving fish would hope that the couple will experience a life together with abundance because “fish”" sounds like “plentiful” in Chinese.

Sweet Red Bean Soup and Sweet Buns- Serving dessert probably wishes the newlyweds a sweet life. The hot sweet red bean soup contain lotus seeds and a bark-like vegetable to wish the newlyweds a hundred years of togetherness. The sweet lotus paste in sweetened steamed bread symbolizes fertility;

The sweet sticky dumpling, covered with crushed peanuts/sesame seeds with sesame paste in the center is also served.

Noodles -served at the end would symbolize longevity because noodles come in long strands. [They are indispensable at Chinese birthday parties as well]

Apart from these main dishes fresh fruits and other dishes are served.

Alcohol, is almost always present at a Chinese wedding banquet [Red /white wine]. Alcohol is served to celebrate the special occasion. If one does not wish to take alcohol fruit juice is served.

A wedding toast is given. This is similar to the clinking of glasses in the Western culture. The bride and groom and the parents go from one table to another to thank everybody. Musical entertainment is present. The friends of the bride or groom or relative usually sing on stage.

As the time draws near for the guests to leave, the parents & the couple stand in line at the door to thank the guests and wish them well as they leave. They also distribute cigarettes to the guests as they leave.

We came home and compared it to our wedding. Our’s was an elaborate one just like any other South Indian wedding and we wished our’s was as simple as this one but that thought vanished when we realized that each culture has a uniqueness and it is not fair to compare!!!!

The wedding invitation

Seating arrangements for the guests

A pouch with sweets given to all guests

This is my entry for AWED event - Chinese

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