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Hong Kongese Wedding 

Hong Kong Traditional Wedding Rituals you should Know

It's quite overwhelming to plan a wedding, mainly if it involves a large number of guests. From determining the best decorations to finding the fitting tux or dress, to ensuring the drunken relatives don't sit next to the groom and the bride, there's a lot that goes on before the couple gets pronounced as husband and wife.

Another challenge would be to choose what wedding tradition to follow in a case where the bride and the groom don't come from the same traditional background. You can be in luck if your partner comes from Hong Kong.

The journey from picking the wedding date to holding the reception will be exciting in every step. Let's have a look at what is involved in a traditional Hong Kong wedding.

How to Pick a Wedding Date

In Hong Kong, picking a wedding date isn't as straightforward as it happens in many other countries. The couple may have to seek fortune teller's help to choose a wedding date. The fortune teller will consider the times and dates of the couple's birth to tell them what dates to avoid and which ones they can pick.

The fortune teller will also say to the groom the exact time to pick the bride from her parent's home. The couple must strictly follow the times and dates determined by the fortune-teller to ensure the marriage starts on a good foundation.

The Betrothal Ceremony

The betrothal ceremony usually takes place before the wedding - about two months before the wedding. During this ceremony, which takes place at the bride's home, the groom formally expresses his intention to marry the bride. The bride's parents have to give their consent. The groom comes with gifts, including fruits, wine, dried seafood, bridal cakes, among others.

The groom presents these items to the bride's parents to symbolize his commitment and sincerity in taking care of the bride. Apart from these gifts, he also has to offer them some amount of cash in a red envelope. The cash amount to be given is usually stated by the bride beforehand. Once the bride's parents accept the proposal and the gifts, they will also send some gifts to the groom's parents.

The Hair-Combining Ceremony

The Sheung Tau (or hair combining ceremony) symbolizes the step taken by the bride towards adulthood. In this ceremony, the bride bathes in pomelo leaf while seated where she can see the moon (most likely, facing the window). This ritual takes place on the night ahead of the wedding ceremony. A respectable woman of good fortune conducts it.

The woman should be a member of the family, and she must have both a female and a male child. After bathing, the bride put on new slippers and also gets dressed in fresh pyjamas. The woman performing the ritual will then comb her hair and chant a poem (traditional) with every stroke of the brush. 

The Groom Picks the Bride

On the day of the wedding, the groom is supposed to pick up the bride. But he has to play some unenviable games first. As the groom arrives to pick the bride, either from her parent's home or wherever she spent the night, he and his team are met by a gang of bride's group (the bridesmaids) who demand that he pays gate-crashing fee before allowed entry.

Even after paying the fees, they'll still face lots of hilarious pranks, physically challenging games, and even more embarrassing games. After overcoming all these obstacles, the groom will read a love poem to his bride before she gets out to meet him. 

The Tea Ceremony

Also called Ging Chaa, the tea ceremony is the most important of all the rituals and traditions involved in a wedding in Hong Kong. The couple will kneel before the bride's parents and other elderly relatives and serve them tea. They'll do the same to the groom's parents.

They usually kneel on cushions to ensure they are comfortable. Inside the teacup, there have to be some red dates (jujubes) and lotus seeds which symbolize blessings and prosperity to the couple. The tea ceremony is a way in which the couple show appreciation and respect to their parents.

The Bride Leaves the House

Immediately after the tea party ends, the bride has to leave to the wedding ceremony. The maid of honor will hold a red umbrella over her while sprinkling green beans, red beans, and rice to the floor.

This mixture of grains is meant to feed the chicken. In the olden days, there was a belief that jealous men would use chickens to ruin a wedding. Therefore, people used grains to distract the chickens. Today, this ritual prevents evil spirits from interfering with the marriage.

The Wedding Ceremony and the Reception

The wedding ceremony in Hong Kong usually takes place in the church. There are heartwarming speeches and lots of photos taken. After the exchange of the vows, lots of food and drinks get served. Funny videos are also shown, and people dance around.

It is customary for the couple to begin the "drinking train." This is a procedure in which the groom and the bride, together with their teams, go around toasting the guests at their tables. It's the best way to start a party.

After the party, the bride and the groom will go to their new home. After three days, the bride and the groom visit the bride's parent to report that the bride is doing well in the new home, and is in good hands.

The visit is also another special event because it's the first time the bride visits her parents after the wedding. It is usual to welcome the couple with a small banquet. A baby pig gets presented to them as a sign of the bride's purity. The couple also brings gifts to the bride's parents and other family members.

As you can see, traditional Hong Kongese wedding is rich in exciting rituals and customs. If you are planning a wedding, it's good to think of having a conventional Hong Kongese wedding. You can as well pick only the rituals that interest you and incorporate them in your modern wedding. Whatever the case, you will need a qualified wedding planner to guarantee success.

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