1. Matching of birthdays
The vast majority of marriages in the old days were decided by parents on both sides. One of the crucial procedures was to compare the couples' birthday information. They will be deemed suitable for each other if their information matches a complicated fortune-telling formula. Nowadays people are free to choose the other half in their life, but some of them still prefer to go through the assessment and pick an auspicious day for their wedding ceremony.
2. Gifts to the bride's family
As the number “three” sounds like “to give birth” in the Fuzhou dialect, the betrothal money for the bride's family usually include this number in the hope of having more children in the future.
In addition, 10 elaborate gifts for the bride's family were a must-have in the past. They were: 2 packs of candies (2.5kg each), 2 pig's legs, 2 fishes, 2 dried squids, 2 packs of extra-thin noodles (2.5kg each) wrapped up in red paper, several red eggs, 2 bottles of red wine, 2 crabs and 2 live chickens.
3. Gifts to the groom's family
The bride's family would prepare a rooster to exchange with the groom's. Other gifs included a set of underwear, a suit, a shirt, a pair of socks (in any color but white) and a gold ring. Those gifts implied the groom would be a money maker.
The bride's family usually provides household appliances for the new house, two red suitcases with the bride's daily clothes and some precious items.
The bride would carry a red plastic bucket with red dates, peanuts, lotus seeds, longans and melon seeds, symbolizing having a baby soon.
Other presents like a portable kids' bathtub, red suitcase, mirror, red towel and toothbrush were also fairly popular at that time.
5. Red umbrella
After the groom picked up the bride from her home, the bridesmaid usually unfolded a red umbrella, which was believed to help the bride avoid bad luck.
6. Don't look back
The groom usually prepared at least 2 cars to pick up the bride. The bride's family would set off firecrackers three times - before the groom enters, before the bride leaves the door and before the motorcade departs.
The bride got to her new home before noon. She must not look back once she leaves the door.
7. Roll on the new bed
Normally, the newly-wed would invite a senior member from the groom's family to make the bed. Then, they would ask one or two kids to roll on the bed symbolizing the new couple would have their own kids. Don't forget to reward the toddlers with red packets!
8. The wedding ceremony
The couple would go through an important nuptial ritual of “Three Bows”, first to the sky and the earth, then to the groom's parents, lastly, to each other. Then they would be shown by a senior couple to their bedroom, sit at the edge of their bed and drink wine.
In addition, a boy from a large family would pee into a bucket, promising that the couple would expect a boy soon.
9. Wedding cuisines
Noodle with chicken and eggs was a traditional dish consumed by the couple twice on the wedding day – at the bride's home and the groom's house for each, symbolizing peace and happiness.
The acknowledgment session started around 3 to 4 pm. It was the time when the couple kowtowed and showed their respect to their ancestors and elder members of the family. The bride would also be led to the kitchen to worship the kitchen god before moving in.
By China Daily Fujian Bureau