A big fat taiwanese wedding

8 Nov

Wedding pictures are a bit over the top here... The bride and groom were only about 20, which is very young, also after Taiwanese standards.

Today I had the experience of attending a traditional Taiwanese wedding. The bride was my host-cousin, I assume, and seeing as my hostmother has 13 brothers, it’s quite likely. It started around 10 o’clock, so I missed school and got to sleep a couple of hours more than usually, very nice. The place was bustling with people and preparations when we arrived, and gifts (from the groom’s family to the bride’s mostly) and food was carried into the house, while the first firecrackers of the day were fired outside, to celebrate the bride and groom. The bride had her final preparations done in a small room with many of the women in the family, and the groom’s family and the closest relatives had fruit and drinks in the living room next door. When the bride was ready she came out with a tray with cigarettes and betel nuts on it, that she offered to the people in the living room.

Then she went into the preparation room, and then came out again, now with a tray with teacups. Everybody took a teacup, drank the tea, put red envelopes with money into the teacups and then returned them to the bride’s tray.

Then a gold jewellery set was presented as a gift from the groom’s family to the bride.

This was examined, and then the actual wedding ceremony began. The bride sat on a chair with a food rest (so she didn’t touch the ground?) and the groom first put a ring on the bride’s finger, then the rest of the jewellery set, earrings, a bracelet and a necklace. There was a small incident when the groom lost an earring and they couldn’t find it, but they did find it in the end, so disaster averted.

The bride then put a ring on the groom’s finger and his mother a necklace around his neck, and then the couple was oficially married.

The newlywed couple. Despite taking many pictures, this is the only one where they look somewhat happy.

Then the couple and their immediate family went up to the family altar/praying room that most houses have. There’s usually some pictures, maybe god icons, decorations and lamps, and the rooms most sacred thing, an elaborately carved wooden box with pieces of wood with deceased family members’ names written on them. This is used for remembering the deceased and  worshipping the ancestors. A lot of food (including three kinds of meat, a tradition, a quarter of a pig), alcohol and paper money was sacrificed.

They prayed, in Chinese ‘bai-bai’, with incense sticks and wished for a happy marriage and many children.

The bride changed into her second dress, a gold one. More firecrackers, we had tea, fruit and a special cake with a surprise inside: it’s stuffed with what we exchange students call ‘hairy pork’, a terrible terrible thing that is sweet, looks like hair, is made from pork and is much favoured by the Taiwanese, who like to put it into everything, especially cakes and sushi. Then the actual wedding banquet started.

A lot of people!

12 courses! The menu looks great, right?

There were no speeches, but the couple came around and drank a toast with every table.

When the banquet was over the bride changed into yet another dress, this time purple, and couple offered cigarettes, betel nut, candy and small postcards with pictures of them to the departing guests.

It was very interesting to be a part of this ceremony and experience more of Taiwanese traditions!

On a completely other note I can tell you that I experienced my first bigger earthquake a few minutes ago while I was writing this post. It was very strange, the whole world shaked for about 30 seconds, and there was a deep rumbling sound. Interesting!


One Response to “A big fat taiwanese wedding”


  1. Traditional Chinese Wedding vs. A Simplified Version « dancing in the rain - February 9, 2011

    […] A typical Taiwanese wedding: A Big, Fat, Taiwanese Wedding […]

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