Monday, December 03, 2012

The Chinese Betrothal Ceremony or Guo Da Li

In the traditional Chinese Betrothal ceremony, like a pre-wedding ceremony, basically, the groom-to-be and his close family (could be parents or aunts/uncles) visits the bride-to-be's family home on an arranged auspicious date, gives her a set of things, and then the bride-to-be's family returns him a set of things, they offer prayers, the groom-to-be goes back to his family home and perform prayers too. During this time, the bride-to-be's family also lavish her with the traditional bridal gifts. It's like Christmas gift exchange I tell ya.

As the eldest sister-in-law (become Dai Sou no joke), I had the honour to put together these for her, as my mother-in-law is no longer around anymore. She would've been the happiest mother to see her only daughter get married.

The BABY set. Bathtub, basin, scoop mug, and potty. Also, new red umbrella (preferably with lace hehehe), and a sewing basket.

Part of the potty contents (from left to right): Dried red dates WITH seeds(Hong Tzao), bai he (dried lily bulb), lian zi ( lotus seeds) and dried longan (must be in shelled form). You can easily buy these from the Chinese Medical Shops. I stuck double-happiness stickers on each of the packets. So handsome.

The potty content: Those packets of foursome dried condiments , I now call them The Potty F4, along with two oranges and a red packet containing some money (RM10 for the little boy who has to pee in it). The potty is covered back with red paper. On the actual wedding day, a little boy (nephew or cousin of the groom) will have to punch through the paper, retrieve the red packet, and then pee into the potty, after emptying the contents of course. This is to ensure that the couple will be blessed with children who can be easily potty-trained. Kidding folks, kidding...

In the sewing basket: A pair of scissors, pin cushion, thread and needle set (thread spools must come in even numbers). I also included a mirror and a comb, just for fun.

I gotta show you these adorable towel set for the couple! These are from Aussino.
You may also give bedding set (red the better), two pairs of bedroom slippers (traditionally, the couple is given wooden clogs), a pair of red marital/wedding lamps to be placed on each side of the couple's bed. Alternatively you can get two ordinary bedside lamps and stick the double-happiness stickers on them.

Tea set. For the tea ceremony.

A couple of dessert bowls, with matching saucers, chopsticks and spoon.

The cakes to be distributed to family and friends from both sides of family. It is basically pastry filled with bean paste or lotus paste, almost like mooncake.

The gifts from groom-to-be. Roast pork (yumz), the betrothal basket containing oranges (in even numbers), the F4 condiments like above, and dowry. In Chinese traditions, everything involves money.

Also part of the gift from groom-to-be: Two bottles of liquor/wine, two red long cloths (to be hung above the main door), two sets of dragon&phoenix candles.

These are placed on the prayer table outside of the house, at the porch.

Praying to my late mother-in-law. The cakes are also offered at the altar.

The bride-to-be's family then returns the groom-to-be some items from the gifts:
One set of the dragon&phoenix candles, one red long cloth, oranges (in even numbers), two bottles of orange juice (don't get those carbonated ones like F&N because in Cantonese it means 'hei' and it's not good, so I got Twister), and part of the dowry. Now, the dowry is always the trickiest part. The groom's family can give RM1888, or RM8888, or even RM88,888, anything in between. This is always the hottest topic among the aunts and coffeeshop kakis but frankly, it doesn't matter. Like I said, it is just a token.

Sorry, there weren't anymore pictures beyond this because the roast pork had me at hello.

Oh, and the groom-to-be and his entourage goes back to his home and offer prayers as well. The end!

The baby set, umbrella, mirror, thread and needle set, pin cushion are from Bliss Marriage.
17 Jalan Indah 16/12 Taman Bukit Indah 81200 Johor Bahru Malaysia
The ladyboss was very helpful! She actually sat down with me and taught me all the traditions and items needed for Guo Da Li and the actual wedding day.

Bath towel set from Aussino, Plaza Singapura, Singapore.

Sewing basket from some random home appliance shop in Kluang.


MsXeRoZ Nicole said...

Hello Ally,

Thanks for sharing this Guo Da Li guide. I sent your blog link to my mom so that she can have a piece of mind =) on what to prepare.

Thank you again!!!

Chooi In said...

Thanks so much🙏👍