I attended my cousin’s wedding last year in China, it has a lot of difference compares to weddings in America, but there are also similarities. At the beginning, the bride and the bridegroom will stand in front of the gate to welcome all the guests, and every guest need to sign on a red long paper with a gold mark pen, and every family would give red packet. ( red paper packet with money in it) After all the guests has arrived and being sited on the table, the bride and the bridegroom will put on their wedding suite and walk through the center of hall to the stage, this part is very similar to American weddings, they bride’s father carry her hand and give to the bridegroom, switching rings and kissing the bride, after that, the couple’s parents will come up stages and sit down on chairs, the bridesmaid will come up with four cups of tea, the bride will knee down, hold the tea cup with two hands and give it to the bridegroom’s father/mother and said:” father/mother, please have the tea. ” the bridegroom’s parents will take the tea, nodding, and each gives the bride a red packet, always a big one with 10000, and the bridegroom will do the same to the bride’s parents. Finally, one elder from bride’s or bridegroom’s family will come up for a speech, every guests will raise their cups, wish the best for the newlyweds. This is the time the guests starts to eat, but not the new couple, they need to put on traditional Chinese’s wedding suite and go to each table to propose a toast, that’s a lot of work because there are always more than 300 people including friends, colleagues and relatives from the newlyweds and their parents, after they finish this work, they will stand in front of the gate again to say goodbye to the guests who are leaving since most guests have done eating.
There are three main differences in Chinese wedding compare to the American one. First, the red packets given by guests to the bride and bridegroom, this is to show blessing to the newlyweds, because new-marriage couple are forming a new family, which need a lot of money to decorate their house or go to the honeymoon, so give red packets is the most useful gift. The money always depend on how many people come within this family, the more you come the more you give, 666 or 888 are most common because 6 and 8 are considered the two lucky numbers in China.
Second, the newlyweds give tea to each other’s parents and call them father and mother, this part is called the reword, from when the bride and the bridegroom start to call each other’s parents father and mother, and the red packets given to them means their parents accept the son in law/ the daughter in law.
Last, the newlyweds need to wear traditional Chinese wedding cloth and toast every one. This part is for the newlyweds to thanks every guests for their time to come and witness their wedding, most of the time, the bride’s or the bridegroom’s friends will try to embarrassed the bridegroom, they will think out many special way for the bridegroom to drink the alcohol, the most common one will be let the bridegroom carry the bride at his back or life the bride at his chest and use his teeth to bite the cup and drink up the alcohol in it. The reason why they do that is to implied that the bridegroom overcome many difficulties to marry the bride, he need to cherishes her for the whole life.
I think the ritual I observed (which is the wedding) should be the rite of passage, the wedding change the status of the man and the woman, they become a couple, more related.