The ancient Chinese country in Central and East Asia and the European continent surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Arctic Ocean are different in the same day and in the same sky. Marriage customs are an important part of national culture. Chinese marriage customs are full of the essence of Chinese cultures, and have a strong oriental charm in the eyes of Europeans; while European marriage customs are also unique in the eyes of Chinese people. It is also the object of popular imitation of young people nowadays.
Looking back at the weddings of young Chinese in the past two decades: from suits becoming the groom’s formal wear, to the emergence of red wedding dresses; from the popularity of light-colored wedding dresses to white wedding dresses; Entering a star-rated hotel with luxurious decoration and strong Western flavor… Western wedding culture is full of modern and fashionable Chinese weddings. Today, the so-called Western-style weddings are popular. But strictly speaking, the most popular Western-style weddings are not really Western-style weddings. When those new Chinese couples wearing snow-white wedding dresses and neat suits stood in front of the church and took photos intimately, when they flocked to imitate the Western model, how many couples really understood the cultural background embodied or implied by these wedding customs?
Wedding March – see the difference between Chinese and Western wedding forms
(1) Chinese wedding ceremony is cumbersome, Western-style wedding ceremony is simple
The traditional Chinese wedding customs speak of “three books and six ceremonies”. The letter of appointment is the letter of engagement, which is used when both men and women formally sign the marriage contract; the letter of gift (the letter of gift-giving) is actually a list of gifts, which lists the types and quantities of gifts in detail, and is used when the gift is too great; It is used when picking up the bride on the same day. The so-called “six rites” refer to accepting the adoption, asking the name, accepting the Ji, accepting the levy, requesting the period, and welcoming in person. Nachai: The head of the wedding in ancient times, when the man favored the woman, he invited a matchmaker to be a matchmaker, which is now called “promotion of marriage”; the name of the question: the man asked the woman’s name and birthday, and used auspicious signs, commonly known as “the eight characters”; Naji: the classics If it is an auspicious omen after the divination, the man will send a matchmaker to give a small gift; levy: the man will give gifts, cakes, gifts and offerings, etc., that is, the official dowry gift; request period: the fortune-teller of the man’s family will choose the date, that is, the wedding date; Welcome: The groom takes a limousine and goes to the wife’s house to welcome the bride. And in between, there are a series of activities such as changing the geng spectrum, laying the bed and so on. Every activity in a wedding has a lot of taboos and rules. For example, the bride’s dowry must contain items with many meanings: scissors represent the flying of butterflies, spittoons represent buckets of descendants, rulers represent fertile fields, slices of sugar represent sweet honey, and silver-covered belts It symbolizes the richness of the waist, the vase symbolizes the blooming of flowers and wealth, the copper basin and shoes symbolize the old age together, the dragon and phoenix quilt, a pair of sheets and pillows, two pairs of chopsticks and bowls tied with red rope symbolize food and clothing, seventy-two sets of clothes, cypress, Lotus seeds, longan, and li is rich in food and clothing, and so on.
After everything is ready, the wedding day procedure is also more complicated. First of all, before going out to marry the bride, the man must pay homage to his ancestors, and then go to the woman’s house to pick up the bride in the sound of firecrackers that accompany him all the way. “Pick up relatives” is not an easy task for the groom. The bride’s close friends will set up many barriers to prevent the groom from seeing the bride. After the newlyweds offer incense to their ancestors at the woman’s home, the bride bows to her parents to say goodbye, and her father puts on a veil. Shortly after the bride gets in the car and leaves, the parents of the woman will sprinkle a bowl of water and white rice on the back of the car, which means that the daughter has already poured out the water, and everything will be ignored in the future. When the team to pick up the bride is about to arrive at the door of the groom’s house, the man’s family will fire the cannon again to welcome him. Then, there is the traditional “three worships” – “first worship the heaven and earth, second worship the high hall, husband and wife worship each other”, so far the ceremony is completed. Then began the wedding banquet, the bride and groom toasted to each table one by one. After the wedding banquet, the newlyweds should stand at the door of the house with a tea tray filled with cigarettes and wedding candy to see off guests.
In traditional Chinese weddings, making a bridal room is also a unique activity. Relatives and friends who make a bridal room often resort to various new tricks to make the bride and groom noisy, and at the same time express the wishes of the guests. After the successful bridal chamber, the newlyweds should warmly send off the guests despite their physical and mental exhaustion, sincerely thank others for the joyful atmosphere they added to the wedding, and sincerely welcome everyone to be a frequent guest in the future. After such a busy day, the groom finally returned with a beautiful hug. China, as an ancient civilization with a long history and a vast geographical location, has different marriage customs in different historical periods and different geographical environments. The article describes only some wedding forms that are generally recognized by Chinese people.
In contrast, newcomers in the West do not need to work so hard. Usually, after men and women meet, they naturally attract each other, pursue each other, and then become attached to each other, from feeling passionately in love until they are willing to fully dedicate themselves to each other, establish a family after mutual commitment, and work hard for a common ideal life in the future. Love is the interaction of two people, and when the interaction reaches a certain stage, it becomes marriage. But they also have various customs for weddings, such as wedding essentials: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue. “Old” refers to the wedding dress, headgear or jewelry handed down by the bride’s mother, which means to bear all the good things; “New” refers to gifts from friends, such as skirts and accessories, which symbolize new life; “Lend” refers to anyone Borrowing things, it is said that gold and silver borrowed from relatives and friends’ homes are placed in the shoes, symbolizing fortune; “blue” refers to the use of blue in some of the bride’s accessories and bouquets, which means the bride’s purity and chastity.
The steps of a Western-style wedding are also relatively simple: first, the guests enter the church and wait for a seat. With the accompaniment of “Wedding March”, relatives and friends light candles, the priest leads the choir, and announces the start of the wedding. Afterwards, the bride took her father’s hand and walked into the lobby, followed by the bridesmaids and flower girls, and all the guests stood up. The father handed his daughter from one end of the church red carpet to the groom standing on the other end, signaling that the bride’s family officially entrusted her daughter to the groom. The priest witnesses the marriage for the newlyweds. Witnessed by the priest and all the guests, the newlyweds take the marriage oath and sign the marriage certificate. Finally, the bride and groom announce the ceremony by wearing the wedding rings to each other, so the romantic scene of the groom kissing the bride will be staged. To express their blessings, the guests sang a blessing song together under the leadership of the choir.
Compared with the grand wedding banquets in China, the tea parties or buffet dinners of Western weddings are slightly deserted, but also warm. Cakes and champagne are indispensable in wedding ceremonies. In some countries, cakes made of plaster, coins, and chocolate are even popular as wedding gifts. The newlyweds work together to crack open the cake to show that a new life begins. During the wedding banquet, some small interactive programs for couples are sometimes interspersed. For example, in Germany, newlyweds compete to cut peach hearts. According to legend, the one who cuts the fastest will have a higher right to speak at home in the future. The ceremony usually ends with all the guests and newlyweds flying balloons together, and finally everyone watches the newlyweds embark on their honeymoon journey. The so-called “honeymoon” refers to the 30 days after marriage, the newlyweds get along alone and spend sweet time together.
(2) Chinese-style weddings are festive and Western-style weddings are solemn
The atmospheres of Chinese and Western weddings are quite different. Chinese weddings require a lively atmosphere, and the more popular the better, because in the eyes of Chinese people, the wedding must be lively and lively, and it is usually held in a courtyard or hotel with convenient transportation, ample space and popular popularity. Western-style weddings are full of solemn atmosphere from beginning to end. Weddings are usually held in churches or other quieter halls. The arrangements are well-organized and follow the rules, unlike Chinese weddings.
In terms of sound, the sound of firecrackers on the wedding day in China is endless, and the wedding venues often blare drums and even some entertainment programs; while in Europe, the “Wedding March” played in the church is solemn and sacred. With a sound, the ceremony was completed in a very solemn atmosphere.
In terms of color, Chinese weddings always use bright red to set off a festive and warm atmosphere. “Red” is a symbol of joy, success, auspiciousness, loyalty and prosperity in the Chinese mind. At traditional weddings, the characters of Double Happiness are posted, the bride’s face is covered with a red hijab, the auspicious dress is a red jacket, the groom wears a red flower on his chest, and so on. These red costumes not only bring a festive atmosphere to the wedding, but also imply that the days after the newlyweds get married will become more prosperous; looking at Western-style weddings, the bride usually wears a white wedding dress and the groom wears a black dress, which makes the audience feel solemn and solemn. sense. The bride’s bouquet and the decoration of the surrounding environment are mainly white, creating a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. White also represents purity and loyalty.
In terms of scale, Chinese weddings are grand and lively. From picking up relatives to visiting the hall, a wedding banquet requires at least one day for the newlyweds and their relatives and friends. In some areas, it even lasts for three days. Both men and women often want to feast on guests. All members of the extended family: great-grandparents, grandparents, parents of both men and women, and siblings of these elders, as well as siblings, cousins or cousins of both men and women, and their children, all meet on this day; Generally speaking, Western-style weddings are usually much shorter, and the wedding is usually presided over by a priest or priest. The man and woman swear an oath before God to love each other for life, then exchange rings and kiss each other. Wedding banquets often only invite the most important relatives and friends to witness their love.
In other words, Chinese weddings are weddings in front of people, and Western-style weddings are weddings in front of gods. Chinese weddings are like a gathering of relatives and friends to talk, drink and talk, while European weddings are mostly Christian weddings.
Aspects of Culture——Exploring the Comparison of Chinese and Western Cultural Connotations
(1) Chinese Traditional Ethics and Western Views on Free Love
The tediousness of Chinese weddings and the simplicity of Western-style weddings can be attributed to the differences in the connotations of the two cultures. China has experienced a feudal society for more than 2,000 years, and feudal ethics bound people. In order to coordinate the relationship between the sexes, the ruler had to teach the people through “li”. However, this kind of way of getting along with couples, which is based on the fulfillment of etiquette and education, only requires the relationship between the sexes to assume a certain social responsibility, but ignores and limits people’s psychological, emotional and physiological instincts. Marriage became a pure means of clan continuation. In addition, due to “gender and recipient incompatibility”, an important role has emerged in traditional marriage activities – the matchmaker, which runs through the entire process of “Three Books and Six Rites”. Moreover, in the traditional Chinese sense, marriage is not only a matter of two people, but also a matter of two families and their social relations. Whether Gaotang (parents of both parties) approve of the marriage determines the survival of the entire marriage, and is more important than the attitudes of the parties involved in the marriage.
Europeans believe that the basis of marriage is love and sexual pleasure. In their view: a marriage without love is an immoral, low-quality marriage. Western-style marriage ethics originates from the blending of ancient Greek culture and Hebrew Christian culture, and thus develops into the marriage ethics relationship of modern free love. European marriage attaches great importance to the display of personal will. Marriage is the natural development of human nature and is completely controlled by people’s natural inclination and free choice. Love is the interaction of two people, and when the interaction reaches a certain stage, it becomes marriage. Europeans have a strong sense of self-centeredness and independence. In a society where individualism is extremely popular, marriage is just a combination of two individuals. The mode of combination is: love-sex-marriage-procreation. There is love before marriage, which fundamentally affirms the autonomy of marriage. As a result, Europeans tend to choose their spouses autonomously and cannot tolerate the participation of anyone else. They only listen to their hearts and don’t care what others think. The choice of marriage is based entirely on love, regardless of birth, family, social status and other factors. The newlyweds like to be independent, and the father of the bride just sends his daughter to the groom, indicating that he officially entrusts his daughter to the groom. The two people swear and exchange tokens with each other only to represent the union of the two individuals.
(2) Chinese traditional folk thought and the influence of European Christianity
Chinese traditional marriage emphasizes the “horoscope of fate”, and taboos “three, six, nine rushes”, “dragon and tiger fights” and so on. Therefore, when people conclude a major marriage, they attach great importance to the cooperation of the two newlyweds and the five elements and eight characters of each other’s parents, and strive to create a harmonious relationship between the five elements and the eight characters. In addition, Chinese culture has always paid attention to the harmony between “nature and man”. In the old days, China believed that marriage was determined by heaven, so a happy marriage was called “a match made in heaven”. There is also a saying, “Marriage five hundred years ago”, which means that there is an old man under the moon who has already tied the two together with a red rope. Therefore, at the traditional Chinese wedding, the newlyweds must first worship the heaven and earth, second worship the high hall, and finally the husband and wife worship each other. “Bai Tiandi” is to thank the gods or gods for facilitating this marriage.
In European society, the marriage story of Adam and Eve in Christianity is the origin of Western marriage. A Western-style wedding means that the newlyweds seek eternity under the recognition and protection of God, and honor the doctrinal provisions of marriage in accordance with God’s will. The divine religion’s control over people’s minds is deeply ingrained, and it is not easy for religious believers to rebel against and abandon the regulations of various doctrines, especially the regulations on marriage. Because not only are they bound by the church and family, but also the fear of God that comes from the depths of their hearts. While wedding officiating is no longer the preserve of the clergy today, European weddings are deeply branded with religion. Common wedding procedures, such as priests witnessing marriage, wearing wedding rings and swearing oaths, and dedicating poems, are all endowed with specific theological meanings.
The fusion of wedding patterns and the fusion of cultural differences
If we compare the wedding customs of ethnic groups on both ends of the Eurasian continent, we will find that there are rich cultural differences in these wedding customs. There is no ingenious blend of cultures everywhere. From matchmaker’s words to free love, from eight-character matching to love, from labor and teachers to simple romance… These all reflect the reflection of the economy, politics and culture in a specific period of this society in real life.
In fact, folk customs are never static, and changes in marriage customs are an indispensable part of the existence and development of a society. In recent years, due to the influence of Western culture, the form of traditional Chinese weddings has undergone some changes. After understanding the profound cultural connotation and important social significance of weddings, we can realize that the changes in the form of Chinese weddings are both a combination of Chinese and Western weddings. The result of this cultural collision is also a testimony to the richness of wedding culture. With the gradual transition from Chinese weddings to Western-style weddings, people are worried whether the traditional Chinese-style wedding culture will be submerged in the Western-style culture? However, market research shows that 30% of people are still willing to choose traditional Chinese weddings, 65% of them choose a fashion wedding that combines Chinese and Western styles, and only 5% of people choose a true Western-style wedding. It can be seen that the most popular Western-style weddings are not really Western-style. They often adopt Western-style dress + Chinese-style dinner, traditional lively weddings + romantic hotel weddings, or a bridal room + two-person honeymoon trip. A combination of Chinese and Western forms. It can be seen that although contemporary young people pursue new things and hold personalized weddings, the wedding culture that has influenced the Chinese nation for thousands of years is still passed down from generation to generation, and it is constantly innovating.
Whether it is a Western-style wedding or a Chinese-style wedding, it shows that life will enter a new stage, and both reflect the inheritance of traditional customs and the emphasis on weddings. The westernization of Chinese weddings reflects the collision and fusion of Chinese and Western cultures, from which brilliant sparks will emerge and new contradictions will arise. This is a true portrayal of today’s global environment. With the development of China’s economy and the improvement of its international influence, and the accelerated development of global integration, China’s splendid and long-standing traditional culture has attracted more and more attention from the world. Perhaps a few years later, the Chinese-style wedding of Western-style weddings will also set off a trend in continental Europe. .