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Traditional Chinese Wedding Customs You Need To Know- Teochew/Hokkien

Continuing our Traditional Chinese Wedding Customs series, today we’ll bring you the wedding customs for Teochew and Hokkien weddings. In most ways, traditional Chinese wedding customs are the same; the order of bridal gifts that are exchanged between the 2 families, fetching the bride, tea ceremony etc. However they differ in specific details; such as the content of the bridal gifts, the timing to fetch the bride etc.

So if you’re marrying a Cantonese or Hakka, you can read the details of their wedding customs HERE.

But if you’re marrying a Teochew or Hokkien, here are the specifics you need to know…

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Betrothal Package (过大礼)

This is given by the groom to bride’s family. Traditionally, brides are not allowed to use anything from the betrothal package. Brides are also not allowed to receive the groom when he delivers the package and wedding invites can only be sent out after the betrothal package is delivered

Unlike Cantonese/Hakka, Teochew/Hokkien will deliver the betrothal package on 2 separate days.

Image credit: 4letters1life2live.blogspot.com

Image credit: 4letters1life2live.blogspot.com

First Day (送日子)

  • A partial amount of cash gift
  • 10 or 12 mandarin oranges
  • Cream biscuits/crackers

These has to be delivered at the pre-arranged auspicious hour. Once the bride’s parents accepted the gifts, the groom may proceed with part 2 of the betrothal package…

Second Day (送礼日)

  • The remaining portion of the cash gift
  • Traditional Wedding Biscuits
  • 12 Mandarin Oranges
  • Cream Biscuits/Crackers
  • A Whole Roasted Pig
  • 2 Whole Chicken
  • 2 Bottles of Whiskey/Cognac
  • 3 Sets of Rice Snacks (3 with sesame, 3 with grains)
  • 2 Bolts of Red Cloth
  • 2 Pairs of Dragon-Phoenix Candles
  • 4 Pieces of Gold Jewellery(四点金); earrings, necklace, bracelet, ring

Returning Gift (回礼)

This is given to the groom’s family by the bride’s family as a formality for the betrothal gifts. Hence “returning gifts”. The bride’s family has to give an Ang Bao to the person who delivers the gifts to the groom’s house

 

Image credit: shuangxile.com

Image credit: shuangxile.com

  • Traditional Wedding Biscuits (礼饼)
  • 18 Chinese Cakes (发糕)
  • 2 Bottles of Orange Juice
  • Melon Seeds (瓜子)
  • Lotus Seeds and Lily (莲子百合)
  • Jujube (蜜枣)
  • Longan (龙眼)
  • Tea Leaves
  • 8 Mandarin Oranges
  • 8 Apples
  • A pair of pants, a belt and a wallet for the groom
  • 1 towel and 1 Ang Bao each for the groom’s brothers
  • 1 towel and 1 Big Ang Bao each for the groom’s parents
  • 1 money pouch containing 5 types of grains / nuts (五谷)
  • 2 yams (芋头)
  • 2 gingers (姜)
  • 1 pair of old ginger (老姜)
  • 2 stalks of chives (韭菜)
  • 2 blocks of coal with red paper
  • 2 bags of glutinous rice flour (汤圆粉)
  • 1 piece of tie with tie-clip
  • 1 additional Ang Bao
  • Shoes for the elders in the groom’s family
  • Shirt for the groom’s father
  • Shoes for the groom’s mother

*To make things easier, most people will give an Ang Bao to replace the clothing in the form of “Clothing Fees”

Dowry (送嫁妆)

Image credit: shuangxile.com

Image credit: shuangxile.com

  • New Bedsheets and Duvet
  • Tea Set (1 plate, 1 teapot, 4 teacups)
  • 1 Bedside Lamp
  • 1 Ruler
  • 1 pair of Scissors
  • 1 Mirros
  • 1 Red Umbrella
  • 2 Fans
  • 2 boxes of Face Powder
  • Dining Set (2 bowl, 2 pair of chopsticks, 2 plates and 2 spoons)
  • 1 pair of Chinese Clogs
  • 1 pair of New Bedroom Slippers
  • 1 dozen of Double Happiness Facial Towel
  • Dried Food & Nuts (五谷)
  • Charcoal
  • Marriage fee

Hokkien: add-on 8 descendants pails, including 1 chamber pot. 1 piece of alter covers, 18 money pouches

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Bed Setting (安床)

Unlike Cantonese / Hakka where the bed is set by an “auspicious person” (好命人), the bed is set by the groom’s father, mother or grandfather in a Teochew/Hokkien wedding. Nobody is allowed to touch or move the bed after the Bed Setting.

After Hair Setting ceremony, the groom has to share the bed with a younger boy whose zodiac sign does not clash with his to bring luck in continuing his descendant line (早生贵子).

Hair Setting (上头)

Before the ceremony, prepare the following

  • 12 Ang Ku Kueh
  • 12 bundles of Mee Sua wrapped in red paper
  • 3 combs in different shapes
  • A small can of rice with 3 stalks of fake flowers (1 white 2 red)
  • 1 long piece of red string,winded 8 or 12 rounds
  • 1 slab of pig’s neck,, smeared with red powder
  • 1 mirror
  • 1 pair scissors, with the ends wrapped in red paper
  • 2 50 cent coins
  • 1 bowl of cooked mee sua with 2 eggs

During the ceremony, the door has to be locked.

At the end of the ceremony, the bride or groom will share the bowl of egg mee sua with the person who assist with the hair setting (好命婆)

Gate Crash, Fetching The Bride and Tea Ceremony

The ceremonial procedures are the same in all Chinese weddings and you can the specific information for gate crashing and tea ceremony in this post. But here are some points to take note for Teochew/Hokkien weddings:

1) Teochew only: The groom has to fetch the bride before the break of  dawn, as traditionally it is bad luck for the bride to see daylight before she meets her groom. Hence the whole ceremony will take place around 4-5am in the morning.

Image credit: flickr.com

Image credit: flickr.com

2) For both Teochew and Hokkien weddings, the groom will bring a basket containing a pair of pig front trotters and 8-12 mandarin oranges to fetch the bride.

Returning Home (三朝回門)

It is customary to return to the bride’s home with gifts but in modern context, an Ang Bao is sufficient.

There you have it! The customaries of a Teochew/Hokkien wedding. Think we’ve missed out something? Feel free to tell us by commenting below.

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Source:

华人结婚礼俗(不同籍贯的传统程序以及现代简化版)

我们的华人传统婚礼————习俗依照、仪式安排、礼服定做、各种花费

西化影响传统渐失 新加坡华人婚俗中西合璧

*Featured image credit: jayscup.com


About

Steph Leong considers herself a lifestyle chameleon, with a passion for fashion. Steph is also passionate about street dance; specializing in Waacking. A dancer by night, Steph does freelance writing and graphic design by day.



'Traditional Chinese Wedding Customs You Need To Know- Teochew/Hokkien' has 27 comments

  1. February 27, 2015 @ 4:07 pm CT

    how about hok chiang? (Fu qing ren)

  2. February 28, 2015 @ 7:18 am Alan

    Hi. Nowadays i dont think the hokkien wedding have so much details going on. As my cousin married last week. It doesnt seem to have gone thru so much details. Seem to be like a simple one.

  3. March 1, 2015 @ 12:23 am AY

    Do you have any information about Hainanese weddings..??

  4. March 2, 2015 @ 4:20 pm Steph Leong

    I’m still in the midst of researching for this so do stay tuned for the post 🙂

  5. March 2, 2015 @ 4:33 pm Steph Leong

    Yup I agree with you Alan. As the years go by and our society become more westernized, Guo Da Li has become more of a formality out of respect for the elders in the family; unlike back in the days where it is very significant in a Chinese wedding. Even most of the specialist shops for Guo Da Li are offering simplified versions of the packages. My research sources also provided simplified version of the packages where most of the items are replaced with cash gifts (e.g. cash for cloth, cash for seafood etc.)

    However, I feel these articles would serve as a reference guide for the modern bride and groom. All these are good to know because at least when you’re discussing with your future in-laws, at least you have a rough idea what is needed. Nonetheless, I do hope you found this article useful 🙂

  6. March 2, 2015 @ 4:34 pm Steph Leong

    Hi CT, I will research on this so do stay tune for the post!

  7. March 4, 2015 @ 7:43 am lo

    Hi, may I check for the clothing fee which you mention in the hui Li, is the bride or bride’s parents have to give the ap?

  8. March 4, 2015 @ 9:13 am Steph Leong

    Hi Lo,
    Hui Li is prepared by the bride’s family. Hence the clothing fee is given to the groom’s family by the bride’s parents

  9. March 4, 2015 @ 9:29 am Lo

    Thanks for your fast response! May I check what is the significance for clothings / clothing fees?

  10. March 4, 2015 @ 11:14 am Steph Leong

    Sure no problem.
    Basically in the old days, the bride’s family will want to show that they are generous and of equal financial & social status; that their daughter is worthy to get married into the groom’s family.

    Since back then fabric and clothes are consider a luxury, the Teochews and Hokkiens will present them as gifts during Hui Li. Hope this answers your question 🙂

  11. March 8, 2015 @ 7:29 pm lisuper

    Hi, can I check those dialect groups- do they refer to bride or groom dialect group?

  12. March 9, 2015 @ 11:49 am Steph Leong

    Hi Lisuper,

    I believe you have to follow the customs to each respective individual. E.g. when a Cantonese groom marry a Teochew bride, the groom will give a Teochew-style betrothal package to the brides family, and the bride’s family will prepare Cantonese-style Returning gifts and Dowry. And of course when he fetch the bride, he’ll have to follow the Teochew customs

  13. March 10, 2015 @ 4:40 pm Michelle

    Hi Steph~

    i would like to ask

    “1) Teochew only: The groom has to fetch the bride before the break of dawn, as traditionally it is bad luck for the bride to see daylight before she meets her groom. Hence the whole ceremony will take place around 4-5am in the morning.”

    as for this phrase, it only applies for teochew bride is it? because now i’m hokkien and my groom is teochew. so does that apply to me?

    thanks

  14. March 11, 2015 @ 10:17 am Bryan

    Hi Steph,
    Thanks for the great effort for you to put up all these customs! I am just curious on the customs when a Taishanese/Xinning (Groom) marrying a Hokkien (Bride). Which custom shoud they follow? Is the custom for Taishanese/Xinning same as the Cantonese?

  15. March 12, 2015 @ 1:18 pm Steph Leong

    Hi Byran,

    Woah to be honest I haven’t heard of these dialects before! Pardon my ignorance but I’ll go do the research and get back to you alright!

  16. March 12, 2015 @ 1:21 pm Steph Leong

    Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for inquiring! Hmmm, if I were to analyse, I believe it is only for Teochew brides. However, across all dialects, it is bad luck for the bride to be “revealed” to the sky. That’s why you will notice most brides are escorted out of the house under a red umbrella. So do remember to prepare a red umbrella for your wedding !

  17. March 12, 2015 @ 1:33 pm Steph Leong

    And Bryan, do me a favour?

    Comment on this post on our facebook with the dialect groups you like to know about (don’t forget to like our page!)
    https://www.facebook.com/440395829335003/photos/a.440502112657708.91358.440395829335003/864858256888756

    I’m compiling the list so that I can do a thorough research. Thanks!

  18. March 12, 2015 @ 1:33 pm Steph Leong

    Hi CT, do me a favour?

    Comment on this post on our facebook with the dialect groups you like to know about (don’t forget to like our page!)
    https://www.facebook.com/440395829335003/photos/a.440502112657708.91358.440395829335003/864858256888756

    I’m compiling the list so that I can do a thorough research. Thanks!

  19. March 20, 2015 @ 7:46 pm Jacqueline

    hi, for 嫁妆, it’s to be given For the guy side to brin back on the 过大礼 day?

  20. May 15, 2015 @ 10:48 pm JO

    Hi. Do you have Hokkien-Hokkien?

  21. May 18, 2015 @ 5:04 pm Steph Leong

    Nope. Basically there’s the dowry and the Return Gifts. So the Return Gifts are given to the groom on the day he gives the 过大礼. Dowry will be given on a later date, as long as it is before the actual wedding day.

  22. May 18, 2015 @ 5:04 pm Steph Leong

    Erm well…if it’s hokkien-hokkien you just have to follow the hokkien traditions then 🙂

  23. May 19, 2015 @ 12:51 pm JO

    Did you write an article on it? Can’t find it. 🙁

  24. May 20, 2015 @ 10:22 am Steph Leong

    It’s this current article you’re commenting on. Teochew/Hokkien = Teochew or Hokkien

  25. May 20, 2015 @ 2:22 pm JO

    Oh. I thought it was specifically Teochew groom – Hokkien bride and Teochew bride – Hokkien groom. My bad. Thanks!

  26. July 6, 2015 @ 10:53 am Valerie

    Hi! When the groom presents wedding cakes during 过大礼, both the groom and bride should give out the cakes together right?

  27. July 11, 2015 @ 8:27 am Deedee

    Hello! I will be getting married next year and my husband is a Teochew. According to his mum,after 回娘家,I will still need to go back to my husband house again to walk around. Is it necessary? I am very confused and what I have planned for the actual day,we are very pressed for time as mine is a wedding lunch,not dinner..


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