Chinese and Chinese American Wedding Celebrations

Essay by quyentannguyenCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2002

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In today's society, Chinese wedding ceremonies have been woven into American wedding heritage. Many Chinese have adapted into American's society and changed their traditional practices into more modern ways. Therefore, marriage is an integral part of living and great pains are taken to ensure a good match and bountiful prosperity. This is why traditional Chinese weddings have many complex customs and ceremonies. They serve the important function of providing an auspicious start for the bridal couple.

In the past, Chinese families enlisted the help of matchmakers to choose marriage partners. Couples also consulted fortune-tellers to see if their horoscopes were compatible and to choose auspicious days for the ceremonies. These traditions are no longer observed in today's society.

Nowadays, it is more likely that the groom-to-be will speak directly to his parent's in-law for the hand of their daughter. After receiving a positive response, it is not uncommon for the gifts to be exchanged and other wedding arrangements made.

In a traditional Chinese society, pinli (gifts for the bride to confirm the union) was a central issue in any marriage mediation. It was unusual for marriages to be aborted because of disagreement over this matter. The bride's family was expected to spend a part of the pinyin on the trousseau.

Today, a Chinese American man should pay a price for his bride that is considered to be distasteful and degrading to the woman. It should be pointed out; however, that pinyin also serves the purpose of acknowledging the significant role played by the bride's parents in her upbringing. The custom of presenting some gifts to the bride's family as a token of appreciation, therefore, continues to be widely practiced.

To express his thanks to his future in-laws for agreeing to the marriage, the groom may consider giving a hongbao...