Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chinese tea ceremony wedding traditions

Chinese tea ceremony wedding traditions

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Although Chinese weddings have been Westernized since the early 20th century, Westerners may still find something exotic at a Chinese wedding, especially when seeing the bride serve tea to the groom's parents. Some Westerners call this a "wedding tea ceremony," which is culturally interesting to learn about.

  1. History

    • The tea ceremony at modern Chinese weddings has its origins in traditional Chinese weddings. While the Chinese have Westernized their weddings since the early 1900s as part of China's Westernization for the sake of modernization, the tea ceremony tradition has remained. However, the tea ceremony is no longer part of the wedding ceremony, which has been Westernized. Instead it usually takes place during the reception.

    Traditional Way

    • When the tea ceremony was part of a Chinese wedding ceremony, it took place right after the bride and groom---both in red silk and the bride also in a red tulle veil---bowed to the groom's parents. The traditional Chinese wedding started as soon as the groom brought his bride into his house. He took her to his family altar, and they both bowed to heaven, Earth, the kitchen god and the groom's ancestors. Then the bride and groom turned to the groom's parents, both seated in ornate chairs, to bow. Someone would hand a tray on which there were two lid-covered cups of tea to the bride, who would present it to the groom's parents. After the groom's parents took their tea, the bride and groom would bow to each other. Then the wedding ceremony was done.

    Modern Adaptation

    • A modern Chinese wedding won't be held at the groom's house. But the groom will still go to the bride's house to pick her up. Most Chinese are unaware of the Western custom that keeps the groom from seeing the bride until the wedding while putting on utterly Westernized wedding ceremonies. The groom will take the fully dressed bride and perhaps some of her family members in his rental limo to the ceremony site. Before they leave the bride's house, the couple may have served tea to the bride's parents. Or they will save it until the reception to serve tea to both sides of parents at the same time.


    • The wedding tea ceremony used to be a symbol of the bride's obedience to her in-laws in the patriarchal Chinese culture. Nowadays the Chinese bride serves tea to her in-laws at her wedding reception just to show respect for them, as obedience is no longer required of a daughter-in-law.

    What's in the Tea

    • The tea served at Chinese weddings has been the same kind for thousands of years. It's a sweet beverage with red dates and lotus seeds in it for a symbolic meaning. In Chinese the word "date" sounds the same as "early," and the word for "seed" can also refer to "child." The tea therefore symbolizes a wish for the wedding couple to have a child soon.

Source: www.ehow.com

Tags: groom parents, wedding ceremony, Chinese wedding, Chinese weddings, been Westernized