Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chinese Wedding
Bridal Bed Installation

What's next after gift return ceremony?

It is time to look up an auspicious day and set up your bridal bed. The bridal bed installation is usually take place a week before the wedding day.

But...you are not the one setting up the bridal bed; two lucky persons (a male and a female) who are considered to have good fortune (blessed with good marriage; healthy and living husband/wife, children, and grandchildren) will be invited to perform the bridal bed installation ritual instead.

On selected auspicious date and time, the good fortune man will move the bridal bed to the right place^ and the lady will make the bed with new set of bedding linen. The lady will then scatter various dried fruits and food with special meaning on top of the bedding. (See shopping list below.)

Shopping list:

1. New Bedding Set

Traditional Chinese wedding bedding linens are usually in red or pink. There are some popular designs such as double happiness symbol, dragon-phoenix features, and beautiful peonies. Today, more couples choose plain red/maroon bed linen over traditional bed linen with embroidery. It is more practical and being able to incorporate their personalities to home decorations, and yet paying respect to their rich heritage back in the old times (red as the signature of lucky).

2. Red Dates

3. Dried Longans

4. Dried Lychees

5. Dried Persimmons (柿子)

Item 2, 3, 4, and 5 are all sweet in nature. Therefore, they are used to bless the marriage with sweetness.

6. Lotus Seeds (莲子)

Lotus seeds are used as an omen of fertility (连生贵子).

7. Lily Bulbs (百合)

It symbolizes a harmony marriage (百年好合).

8. Red and Green Beans

9. Tangerines (橘子 "ju zi" in Chinese; 吉 "qat" in Cantonese)

Tangerine pronounces as qat in Cantonese (meaning good luck) and it represents a way to bring good fortunes for the newlywed. Therefore, the bigger the tangerine the luckier the newlywed is.

10. Pomelo Leaves (柚子叶)

Chinese believed that pomelo leaves can be used to ward off evil spirit, and hence, the wedding will run smoothly and bringing lucks to the newlywed.

11. Bedside Lamps in red

Lamp pronounces as "deng" 灯 in Chinese, it has a similar sound as "ding" 丁 (meaning son). Another item used as an omen of fertility to the newlywed.

12. Red Packets ("Lai See" 利是)

It represents good fortunes for the newlywed.

Then, the bridal bed will be left untouched once it is installed, until the actual wedding day. If the groom has to sleep on the installed bridal bed, he should be accompanied by a young boy. It is considered as unlucky to leave one side of the bed empty. For people from older generations, leaving one side of the bed unoccupied means to curse death on either one of the newlywed. 100% believe it or not...Once the bridal bed is installed - it is advisable either: (1) Leave it untouched until the wedding day, or, (2) Have a young boy accompanies the groom.

What to expect on actual wedding day?

Young kids (preferably a male and a female^^) stand an important role during the ceremony. Kids will be invited to jump on the bridal bed and eat the good fortune food and dried fruits on the bed, as an omen of fertility to the newlywed.
当幼童在新床上跳动时,大妗姐就会大声念 “今日结成鸳鸯侣, 他日将有男又有女“,喻意白子千孙。

That's all for the bridal bed installation ceremony.

Wondering if there is taboo for bridal bed installation ceremony? To satisfy your curiosity towards wedding taboos, please refer to the list below (partial - only those relate to bridal bed installation ceremony).


1. Groom should not sleep on the installed bridal bed alone, before the actual wedding day. If he has to sleep on the bed, he must be accompanied by a young boy. To leave one side of the bed unoccupied means to curse death on either one of the newlywed.

2. Women during menses are not allowed to enter the bridal room after bridal bed is installed and on the wedding day (except the bride).

3. Pregnant women should not touch the newlywed's clothing or anything in the new home.


^ Move the bridal bed
The bridal bed installation is merely moving the bed slightly by the good fortune man (一个意思); the actual work was done by servants or friends.

^^ Male and female kids
Another auspicious meaning for traditional Chinese wedding, because both characters combined as the word "good 好". For Chinese, male is written as "男子" (we will drop the word 男, as 子 alone represent male) and female is written as "女子"; wishing the newlywed to have many children in near future.

Happy Planning!

Malaysia Wedding Handbook, 2007, Sky Publisher
"The Chinese Bridal Bed", Chinese Wedding Guide, http://www.chinese-wedding-guide.com
"Chinese Wedding Traditions - Installing The Wedding Bed", http://myweddingplanningtips.com
"Installing The Bridal Bed", Chinese Wedding Traditions, http://www.chcp.org
"Chinese Wedding Taboos", Chinese Wedding Guide, http://www.chinese-wedding-guide.com
"Do's and Don'ts at Chinese Wedding", Complete Guide to Chinese Wedding, http://www.chinabridal.com

Photo Credits:
Customary Items for Bridal Bed Installation, http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlieloo
Bridal Bed, http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlieloo
Red Dates, http://21food.com
Dried Lychees, http://21food.com
Dried Longans, http://o-mai.com/
Dried Persimmons, http://www.allproducts.com
Lotus Seeds, http://bencaoyuan.en.ec21.com
Pomelo Leaves, Kenny Tan Photography, http://www.flickr.com/photos/knytan
Green Beans, KYFood, http://kyfood.hisupplier.com
Red Beans, http://www.thedailygreen.com
Tangerines, http://tangerines.org/
Wedding Lamps, http://emarriage.wordpress.com
Red Packets, http://emarriage.wordpress.com

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