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Chinese Wedding Taboos

A Chinese wedding has many traditions, taboos and rules. It is important for bride and groom, guests to be aware of etiquette concerning different elements of the wedding celebration, from attire to gifts. It is equally important for them to know what they should not do at the ceremony, to avoid causing offence to the newlyweds and their families.

1. In the three months leading up to a couple’s wedding, they should avoid going to a funeral or wake, another wedding, or visiting a woman who has just had a baby. If one of the couple’s parents passes away before the wedding, the wedding must be postponed for 100 days or 1,000 days as attending happy celebrations is considered disrespectful to the deceased.

2. If the bride meets another bride on the wedding day their luck may clash. The matchmakers or the bestmen from the two bridal parties will exchange red packets on the couple’s behalf to neutralize the effect of the clash.

3. No one should sleep on the bridal bed after it has been installed and blessed. If the groom must sleep on the bed before the wedding, he should not sleep alone as leaving one side of the bed empty is considered a curse on the couple’s health. To avoid leaving half of the bed empty, the groom should have a young boy, preferably born in the year of the dragon, accompany him in bed.

4. White, blue, green are mourning colours and should not be used for wedding decorations. Pale yellow or white chrysanthemums floral arrangements are used at funerals or at visits to ancestral graves and should not be used for weddings.

5. As the friend of bride, do not be a bridesmaid more than three times. Doing so creates a negative effect on your own marital luck, causing you to have difficulties finding someone to settle down with. Obstacles will manifest.

6. Persons born under horoscopes that clash on the wedding day are not invited as bridesmaids and bestmen, or invited to the wedding day activities. However, they can attend the wedding banquet.

7. It is unfortunate when a person is born under a star sign that clashes with the wedding date. They are not allowed to attend the wedding ceremony or be a part of the wedding party. The Chinese people pay close attention to the horoscope when they are picking auspicious wedding days so they do not want a sign that would clash.

8. Persons in mourning are not to attend any celebrations and entertainment within 100 days of the death as a form of respect for the dead. So they will not attend any wedding celebrations.

9. During chinese wedding dinners, steamed fish is usually one of the main dishes served. According to eating taboos, one should never turn the fish over nor break the fish bones when eating fish when it is served whole. This is sure to have a negative effect on the newlyweds.

10. If a roast pig is included as part of the bride’s home visit gifts, be careful not to break the ears or tails accidentally. An imperfect roast pig implies that the bride is not a virgin.

11. In general , the Chinese will avoid holding wedding during the first lunar month to avoid clashing of luck with the new year. The third (Ching Ming Festival), seventh (commonly known as the Hungry Ghost Festival orZhongYuan Festival) and ninth (ChungYeung Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day) lunar months are avoided due to the negative yin (阴) forces. The lunar sixth month is also avoided due to the taboo belief of the sixth month being a half-year, and therefore implies a half-marriage.

12. In the past, Chinese believed that the bride and groom should not meet each other the day before the wedding. However, this taboo is no longer strictly observed. The taboo is now observed in a modified manner; the bride and groom will not sleep under the same roof the night before the wedding. The bride and groom will usually meet up on the day before the wedding to finalize their wedding arrangements and collect the bridal gowns, suits and flowers, etc.

13. Try not to have sex on the 1st and 15th days of the Lunar Chinese Calendar. These are the days of the new moon and full moon. While these are auspicious days, they are also days for sacrifice rather than for sexual indulgence.