Marriage a time of love, joy and happiness. A tradition that is common to almost every culture around the world. For my final project I decided to look at the marriage customs old and new in Chinese culture. More importantly I looked at how the old and new traditions are connected to one another. The format that my project took on is a travel booklet for those who may be visiting China or someone who just wants to learn more about China and their traditions.
The first section of the booklet is a basic introduction to China and the three main religions (Doaism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.) It goes into detail about how religious values have an influence over many things in the Chinese culture. It goes as a basic introduction for those who may not know much about China or the part religion play in their culture. It also talks about how Chinese culture centers around males and their families name. So more rides on the marriage for the male than the female, meaning in the end that the males will pay and do whatever is needed to get the best wife.
The second part of the booklet is about the modern marriage traditions in China. It talks about the Marriage Market Weekend in Shanghai. This is a time in which parents put up ads for their daughters to get them married off. It also talks about how the one child policy has negatively affected Chinese men and made it harder for men to find a women. Often they and their families are expected to shell out tons of money to impress the woman and every year the price goes up higher and higher. It also goes into the ceremony and how now the dress of the bride and groom have changed the way they dress and how the ceremony differs from those in the past. Modern day marriages often tend to be more western with the looks and reception.
The next part of the booklet talks about old marriage customs, more specifically the Qing Dynasty and their traditions. It goes into detail about the process of the three letters and six etiquettes to becoming engaged. It also talks about the tradition of the bride covering her face so that she may leave behind her family and be fully into her husband’s family. It was also so that the groom wouldn’t see the bride until they were officially married. Often times the couple was set up through a match maker and didn’t know one another. This is very similar to other cultures and their ancient marriage customs, it was all about the family name and having people climb higher socially. It also like the modern section talks about the dress and the way the ceremony is laid out.
The final part of the booklet compares the old and the modern day marriage customs. It goes into detail about how some couples are using old traditions such as when the groom goes and captures the bride on the day of their wedding. It is a tradition that includes all the wedding party and how the bride’s maids will lock the groom out of the house and he has to break in. It takes about how modern couples are trying to find a balance between the old and the new because they want to uphold traditions for their families but want to keep up with their friends at the same time. But in the end it is all the same about values and “In general the wedding ceremony of the Chinese continues to embody happiness, grandness and liveliness” (Mooncakes to Mao.)