04 January 2007

The Ultimate Guide to Chinese Weddings

Welcome to The Occasional Mumble's ULTIMATE Guide to Chinese Wedding ceremonies. Unlike most other weddings, Chinese Weddings involve a lot of fun, games and lots of tea.

We start of by arriving at the bride's house:

      Date: 23 Dec 2006
      Time: 8:30am
      Place: Somewhere in front of Mei Hoon's house

Normally the groom has to arrive at the bride's house to collect her. And normally, the groom will be armed with a group of heng tai - tall, muscular, well-hung men (mostly the groom's friends and male cousins).

The heng tai are supposed to provide support to the groom and aid him in the trials that await him at the grooms house. Good heng tais will offer to draw fire away from the groom. Smarter heng tai often stand at the back and laugh at the groom.

Once at the bride's front door, the bride's chee mui (the female equivalent of the magnificent heng tai) will demand for money - a toll - before the groom and his excellent heng tai are allowed inside.

Jun Kit:"Open the door... please!"

At this juncture, the chee mui and heng tai will engage in vigorous negotiations, normally with the chee mui asking for more money and the heng tai haggling to give less than half the asking price.

Aloy: "Eh, you think 50 ringgit enough, arr...?"

Once the chee mui are satisfied with the payment, the groom and heng tai are granted passage into the bride’s house. However, they are not allowed to meet the bride yet.

Instead, the groom and heng tai have to undergo a series of trials set by the the chee mui. These trials are often derogatory and painful in nature:

Such as eating Cili Padi

And sucking milk from a teat.

Sometimes, one of the heng tai will join in the suckling...

...While others completely relieve the groom of potential suffering (this heng tai has offered to eat Wasabi on behalf of the groom).

But as we've mentioned before, the more intelligent heng tai will sit at the back of the room to avoid embarrassment.

Once the groom and his courageous heng tai have passed all the trials, they are allowed to see the bride.


Jun Kit: "Hallo darling... *muaks*"
Mei Hoon: "Eh... why you smell so funny one?"

After the dust has settled, the bride and groom serve tea to the brides parents and relatives. This is also known as the cham char or tea ceremony. This is largely considered to be the highlight of the wedding ceremony, welcoming the groom into the bride's family.

Jun Kit: "Aunty, drink... MOM!!! Mother! Yes, mother! Drink this."

Once that's over, the bride is bundled into the wedding car and brought to the groom's house to meet her new in-laws.

Mei Hoon: "If you show anyone this photo, I'll kill you...! Byeeeee!!!"


Once the couple arrives at the groom's house, there is a second tea ceremony - this time to welcome the bride into the groom's family.

Mei Hoon: "Drinklah, uncle... DAD!!! I mean 'dad', haha..."

Group photo's are cool!

And with that ends the morning session. This is followed by a wedding dinner reception in the evening. It normally starts with a cocktail party where the guests mingle with each other and have light, friendly conversation among friends.

There will be very smartly dressed men...

...and some lovely ladies (Eh, what's Jacky doing here? - Aloy)

A friendly gesture at a photographer

Some guests will spend their time sampling the various snacks...

Eventually, the guests are seated for the couple's grand entrance, which marks the beginning of the dinner.
Jun Kit: "Wah, this is very grand horr?"
Mei Hoon: "Yes, it is."

Jun Kit: "Weddings are cool! I give it two thumbs up!"

Throughout the course of the dinner, there will be crass speeches from the groom's father, cake cutting, a Powerpoint presentation, champagne fountains and the usual toasting ceremony.


The next highlight would be the table-to-table drinking sessions, where the groom goes from table to table, having drinks with various guests. This is considered one of the highlights of the evening.

Jun Kit: "Eh, I thought water beats stone? I drink again, arr?"

And that's how a Chinese wedding is held. A big pat on the back for Jun Kit for bagging himself a fantastic wife and a big thumbs up to Mei Hoon for stumbling across our big, friendly giant. Congrats and all the best, you two! :)

I wonder who's getting married next, then...

Suraya: "Eh! Stop it lah, bang..."
Hanif: " ! "

Weddings are cool :)

1 comment:

max said...

Brilliant! Congrats to JK&MH, best wishes to them.

I'm still unsure about the heng-tai torture. It appears, ironically, a bit of a dystopia during what should be a positively climactic experience.

Nevertheless, two-thumbs-up! :)