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Asian Culture: Weddings

2 Nov 2021

A wedding is often one of the most important celebrations in a person’s life. The celebration way of weddings varies greatly and can be a fascinating window into the culture and traditions of different countries. If you’re invited to a wedding with rituals you’re not familiar with, find out what to expect before you attend.

Western wedding

China

China is a country which developed fastly, but there are some Chinese traditional wedding customs still being kept, such as the Chinese wedding basket full with food which symbolizes blessings, marriage bed in terms of the hopes of ensuring fertility, and throwing the fan which symbolizes casting off bad luck. Chinese weddings are filled with bright colors and symbols. The bride will be dressed in a red gown featuring an embroidered phoenix, and the groom will wear a black silk coat over a dark blue robe embroidered with a dragon. Guests should avoid wearing red (so as not to upstage the bride) or black or white as they are associated with death and mourning. In terms of gifts, guests should avoid anything in sets of 4 as it sounds like the word of death in Chinese. It is common for guests to give cash in a red envelope rather than presents, and cash amounts that end in an eight are popular due to their association with good luck and prosperity.

Chinese wedding

Japan

The traditional wedding style in Japan is Shinto wedding, which ceremonies are conducted by a Shinto priest at a Shinto shrine and are usually quite intimate affairs with only family attending. The bride wears a traditional white (symbolizing purity) kimono and headdress, and the groom wears a traditional formal kimono, usually black or grey, with a white family crest. After the ceremony, the bride changes into a more colorful dress for the reception attended by family, friends, and work colleagues and bosses. Wedding gifts are usually in the form of cash, presented in an elaborated envelope. The amount is often around JPY30,000 and should not be an even number (such as JPY20,000 or JPY40,000) as they can be easily divided, which is considered poor symbolism for a marriage.

Japanese wedding

If you found this article interesting, you might also be interested in taking a look at The Differences between East and West in Culture and Education.

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