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Caroline Baker
BellaOnline’s Chinese Culture Editor

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Chinese Marriages – A Cosmic Event

In ancient China, marriages were a delicate cosmic event. It wasn’t just the fact that a boy was interested in a girl. Everything had to be “aligned” correctly in order for everything to go well.

The first step in the process is to involve a matchmaker. The duty of the matchmaker is not only to bring the potential couple together but also to evaluate their “luck” factor.

In very old times, when the bride was from out of town, the matchmaker’s job was to seek out potential women for a son to marry. The matchmaker may provide pictures or describe the favorable brides to the groom’s family. The bride’s family, as means of acquiring a good son-in-law, provide dowries and riches to entice the groom’s family.

If accepted, the next step for the matchmaker is to evaluate the birth year, day, and hour of the couple to see if they are a match. Chinese astrology is strongly linked not only to when someone was born or what part of the year but also to the very hour. To find out more about Chinese Astrology, check out the Bellaonline Astrology site.

Some matchmakers would even go so far as to consult the I-Ching and cast runes in order to determine the fate of the couple. There is even a candle ceremony where the object is for the candle to burn down equally at either end. And if it does so the marriage would be favorable. This story is featured in one of Amy Tan’s books, the Joy Luck Club.

Even with all of this determined, the need to be aligned doesnt go away. Now it is important for the couple to pick the right day that will suit both of their signs. In the Chinese customs, there’s a book which details out the fate of people on certain days. This is almost like a “Farmer’s Almanac” for luck. They book tells of auspicious days for all major life events, such as moving, getting a job, changing jobs, becoming pregnant, doing something risky and having a wedding.

And if that isn’t enough worrying about luck for you, on the wedding day itself, every symbol and every thing is shrouded in red to usher in more luck and scare away any potential demons that could ruin the marriage.

All this attention to the marriage was critical for ancient China. After all, as in many ancient cultures, divorce wasn’t an option and marriage was more than just between a man and a woman. It was a joining of families and fortunes.

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Content copyright © 2006 by Caroline Baker. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Caroline Baker. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Caroline Baker for details.


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