mailife

WEDDING |

- By SEONA SMILES Photos SUPPLIED

Married China Style

First the birthdates of the bride, Melissa Pei Zhi Seah of Malaysia and groom Bryan Guang Hoi Li of Flagstaff, Fiji – who met in Singapore and now both live in Sydney – were carefully calculated on the lunar calendar and an auspicious date was set – 11 June 2018. On this day, the traditiona­l Chinese wedding tea ceremony was to be observed in Fiji. It began with the groom going to fetch his bride from where she had moved the day before, to a house that according to tradition could not be her family home. There, one of the groom’s female family members, in this case an aunt, combed the bride’s hair and fed her a sweet. This was to persuade her of how well she would be treated by Bryan’s family. The groom was lucky that there were no naughty girls to hide shoes or otherwise obstruct his entry to the house until they were bought off with small bribes. He had, however, to take a leaf from a strong, evergreen tree – in this case picked from the compound of Bryan’s alma mater, Yat Sen School – to be pinned to the bride’s hair or clothing to symbolise the strength and endurance of the marriage. She was resplenden­t in heavily embroidere­d red and gold, in a long skirt and short jacket style dating from the Qing dynasty. As the couple left the house to go to the groom’s home, a red umbrella was opened and held up to guide them on their way. When they reached his home, the groom used a torch to show his bride the way inside. She was first taken into a back room where her mother in law gently wiped her face with a cloth to refresh her. In the room the newlyweds would share, a bed had been prepared and decorated with all sorts of sweets. As many children as could be found in the household were invited in to joyfully jump on the bed – a tradition to encourage a happy marriage with lots of children. The all important tea ceremony, the heart of the wedding, followed. Aunts brewed the tea and the bride humbly offered it on bended knees to her parents in law. When they accepted the tea, in return they gave the bride gold. As is the custom, Melissa received gold bangles. As part of the ceremony the couple also performed prayers for their ancestors, with incense and presentati­on of vegetables, chicken and fish, which is considered a symbol of prosperity. The formalitie­s were followed by a celebratio­n meal. Then on the 1 July the couple attended the

Registry Office to legally register their marriage. There was also a banquet given by the bride’s family in Malaysia to welcome the couple and celebrate their marriage. With the cultural formalitie­s and legalities all taken care of, Melissa and Bryan set the date of a Western style wedding for their friends and so that both the parents of the bride and the groom could attend and get to know each other. It was held on 23 September at the Warwick Resort in Fiji. Against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, beneath a simple canopy draped with white and decorated with tropical flowers, they made their final vows. Friends lined a pathway of flower petals strewn by little flowergirl­s and kept cool with hand fans featuring a design that included a programme of the event. The famous ‘red envelopes’ that are used to present money at special celebratio­ns in Chinese communitie­s come with a specific design for weddings known as Hong Bao, that should be given only by already married couples to the newlyweds. But married or single, friends and family wished the couple a long and happy marriage with a lively beachside celebratio­n.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji