CHI­NESE WED­DING SYM­BOLS

Hong Kong Tatler Weddings - - Keepsakes -

Dou­ble Hap­pi­ness

The Chi­nese believe that good things come in pairs. This sym­bol re­sem­bles the lucky num­ber eight, mak­ing it ex­tra aus­pi­cious.

Man­darin Duck

Man­darin ducks mate for life, mak­ing them a pop­u­lar Chi­nese sign of mar­riage, fidelity and loy­alty. When one duck is de­picted with a lo­tus flower in its beak and the other with a lo­tus fruit, it means there is a de­sire for chil­dren.

Peony

Peonies are known as “the king of flow­ers,” sig­ni­fy­ing op­u­lence, lux­ury, beauty and re­pro­duc­tion.

End­less Knot

Of­ten associated with the end­less cy­cle of death and re­birth in Bud­dhism, in wed­dings the end­less knot rep­re­sents ev­er­last­ing love, har­mony and a long life of good for­tune.

Pig

Pigs are con­sid­ered cute and lucky, as they al­ways seem to be fed. They em­body wealth, pros­per­ity, tol­er­ance and fer­til­ity. A chubby mother pig with a string of piglets is a pop­u­lar wed­ding jew­ellery mo­tif in Hong Kong.

Pea­cock

Pea­cocks de­note beauty, majesty, di­vin­ity and power. The many eyes on its tail are associated with the God­dess of Mercy.

Gingko

Gingko trees date back to pre­his­toric times, mak­ing them a sym­bol of love, hope, re­silience, longevity, en­light­en­ment and peace.

Plum Blos­som

Plum blos­soms are the first to bloom every year in late win­ter, mak­ing them a sym­bol of vir­gin­ity, per­se­ver­ance, beauty and re­newal. Each has five petals, cor­re­spond­ing to prom­i­nent Chi­nese prin­ci­ples such as the Five El­e­ments (wood, fire, wa­ter, earth and metal) and the Five Bless­ings ( health, wealth, longevity, virtue and a peace­ful death).

Bam­boo

Bam­boo is a pop­u­lar mo­tif for men’s jew­ellery. It is a sign of strength, good luck, money, flex­i­bil­ity and vi­tal­ity. Its pro­nun­ci­a­tion in Chi­nese is sim­i­lar to the word for “con­grat­u­la­tions,” mak­ing it highly ap­pro­pri­ate for wed­dings.

Chi­nese wed­ding jew­ellery is laced with mean­ing and soaked in cul­ture—it re­minds us of who we are

the bride might re­ceive mul­ti­ple pairs of these thick ban­gles, which are stacked on the fore­arms. The tra­di­tional tea cer­e­mony out­fit has short­ened sleeves specif­i­cally de­signed to show them off.

FOUR PIECES OF GOLD

This Chiu Chow and Hokkien cus­tom com­prises a neck­lace, bracelet, ring and ear­rings pre­sented be­fore the wed­ding. In cur­rent times, some brides may flout tra­di­tion and go for two rings and two neck­laces in­stead, or just a sin­gle item of a higher value. The cus­tom orig­i­nates from the province of Chiu Chow, where tra­di­tional houses had roofs with curved cor­ners, re­sem­bling the Chi­nese word for gold (金). The gift of Four Pieces of Gold re­as­sures the bride that she will be well pro­vided for and will al­ways have a roof over her head.

NINE TREA­SURES BOX

Usu­ally given by the bride’s older rel­a­tives, the box con­tains eight aus­pi­cious pieces of jew­ellery, with the ninth trea­sure be­ing the box it­self. A scale sym­bol­ises the be­gin­ning of mar­i­tal bliss; a mir­ror re­flects the bride’s beauty; a bas­ket rep­re­sents abun­dance; scis­sors sym­bol­ise the mak­ing of clothes for the new fam­ily; an aba­cus im­parts fi­nan­cial acu­men; em­broi­dered shoes rep­re­sent fidelity and har­mony; a comb re­calls a hair­comb­ing rit­ual; a ruler is used to mea­sure hap­pi­ness and count one’s bless­ings—and last of all the box it­self car­ries good luck and wishes.

GOLD MINIA­TURES

In olden times, items such as a rice bowl set, a baby’s bath­tub or cer­e­mo­nial “ruyi” scep­tre were aus­pi­cious and ex­pen­sive gifts. In the present day they may be less valu­able, but they haven’t lost their aus­pi­cious con­no­ta­tions. So well-wish­ers opt for minia­ture ver­sions—in 24K gold, of course.

flower ring by luk fook

end­less knot ear­rings by tsl

Dou­ble hap­pi­ness ear­rings by tsl

gingko leaf ring by luk fook

Pea­cock ear­rings by luk fook

PRE­CIOUS YEL­LOW from left: for­tune lock with a vine mo­tif neck­lace by em­pha­sis Jew­ellery; dragon ban­gle by Just gold

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