If you are planning a wedding in Singapore, you could be making a decision if you would like a contemporary wedding, a traditional Chinese wedding, or an intimate mix of both. Or have you already decided? Weddings, besides that you are celebrating the blessed union of two people who are choosing a life of togetherness, are great opportunities to commemorate the couple’s cultural heritage.
The Chinese, as with every culture around the world, have a very rich culture as evident in their unique wedding customs, ceremonies, and superstitions. Most wedding couples in Singapore incorporate these Chinese wedding traditions to honor their heritage as they solemnize the matrimonial union. There are variations in rituals and traditions across ancestral regions, so a Teochew bride may engage in rituals that a Cantonese bride won’t.
Below are the last three of these seven customs.
LEAVING THE BRIDE’S HOME. Traditionally, the bride is sheltered under a red umbrella as she leaves her family home symbolic of warding off any negative elements. Red is an auspicious color for the Chinese. In the Teochew and Hokkien regions, the father of the bride or a male elder would cover the bride with a red umbrella as she exits their home and makes her way into her bridal car. Then, right before the couple and their entourage leave for the groom’s home, the bride will throw out a foldable fan, symbolic of leaving behind whatever negativity there was in her past as she starts anew in married life. This fan can then be collected by any member of her family. Traditionally, too, only single ladies are allowed to follow the newlyweds to the groom’s home.
TEA CEREMONY. This particular part of traditional Chinese weddings is hardly lost in any wedding in Singapore. The Tea Ceremony is the Eastern equivalent of the Western solemnization ceremony. It is in this ceremony where the couple is formally “introduced” to everyone and accepted into the respective families. The bride and groom first travels to the groom’s family home to pay their respects by serving them tea and addressing them by their formal titles. The groom’s family will acknowledge the bride’s place in the family and offers blessings to the couple for their joyous union. And then before the bride and groom returns to the bridal home for another tea ceremony and pay respects to her family, the bride must change into the traditional Chinese wedding dress or the “kua”. In the Tea Ceremony, it is customary to use the tea set included in the dowry basket and the tea to be served is brewed from longans and red dates. The longans and red dates in the tea symbolizes the prompt birth of children while the sweetness of the tea represents the amiable relations between the couple and their families.
THE WEDDING BANQUET. A Chinese wedding banquet is a typically a lavish, spectacular, and loud celebration. The highlight of the Chinese wedding banquet is the bride’s change of gowns during the banquet. Guests are served an 8 to 10-course dinner. Typically, the bride wears three gowns throughout the banquet, including the wedding gown, an evening gown and a third selection. This, however, is not a mandatory number and depends much on the bride’s preferences. No Chinese wedding banquet is complete without the drink toast referred to as the “Yam Seng”. After the couple has popped the champagne bottle, relatives and the bridal party are asked to join the couple on stage for a toast. The phrase “yam seng” is joyously recited in unison, usually three times, as loud as everyone can manage. And then comes the second round of “yam sengs” as the newlyweds make their rounds and greet the guests at their tables.
To summarize, a traditional Chinese wedding should never be without these three important elements: the color red (believed to be the color of joy and luck), longans and red dates, and a woman or person of good fortune.
Whether you go fully or partially traditional on your wedding, always remember that truly memorable weddings outlast the actual day and so do make the event as befitting and personal to you and your fiancé as much as possible. Easily immortalize the wedding traditions you’ve selected in the wedding cinematography video. All the pre wedding events could be recorded through the pre wedding videography package from your Singapore wedding videographer. Go with the Singapore wedding photographer and videographer that can appreciate your heritage and how best to capture the moments that matter most. Have a cherished wedding day!