外文标题：A Chinese Marriage
Some days ago Project Manager of the ship we are building, invited us for his marriage. China has a rich cultural heritage and strong traditions. I searched and found the following pages very interesting and was amused to notice quite some similarities between our customs and theirs.
The Old Customs
The process began with an elaborate marriage proposal and acceptance. This process was placed in the hands of a go-between, who acted as a buffer between the two parties. The important parties in proposal and betrothal negotiations were the parents of the prospective bride and groom, rather than the bride and groom themselves.
“Marriage was for continuing the ancestral line and creating alliances between families –; too important a duty to be left in the rash hands of the young,”
When the boy’s parents identified a likely bride-to-be, they would send the go-between to present gifts to the girl’s parents and to sound out their feelings about the match. If the proposal was well-received, the go-between would obtain the date and hour of the girl’s birth recorded on a formal document.
The groom’s family would place this document on the ancestral altar for three days. If no inauspicious omens, e.g. quarrels between the parents or a loss of property, took place within that time, the parents would give the information to a astrological expert to confirm that the young woman and their son would make a good match. If the boy’s family found the horoscope to be favorable, they gave the boy’s birth date and hour to the go-between to bring to the girl’s family, who would go through the same process.
Only after the outcome was favourable would the two families arrange to meet. Finally face-to-face, each family evaluated the other in terms of appearance, education, character, and social position. If both were satisfied they would proceed to the betrothal.
First both sets of parents exchanged family credentials as tokens of intention. Then, after extensive bargaining, the two families would arrive at the amount of money and goods that would make up the gift to the girl’s family. After presenting engagement tokens, the go-between would ask the bride’s family to chose among several auspicious dates suggested by the boy’s family and also set a date for presenting betrothal gifts.
My purpose of visiting that page was to find how Cultural Revolution had suppressed religion and severed links with culture and traditions. Let’s get back to the topic of marriage.
As such there is no dowry from the girl’s parents. The boy has to bear it all. He propses and unless he has buys a house for the girl..he can’t even propose.
The dinner is served unlike in India where the guests make a beeline for a buffet in the adjoining Pandal and worry that it will be over by the time they go there, or there will be no plates or Chicken would have taken a flight and only gravy will be left and whether they will be able to eat enough to justify the “shagun” money …Prawns here are waiting to be eaten up.