Admit it, most of us are clueless when it comes to the tradition Chinese wedding ceremony Guo Da Li 过大礼, aka Chinese Betrothal Ceremony.
Guo Da Li is one of the emphasized customs associated with the Chinese Weddings. However, it is not as complicated and difficult as over the years the elements of the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony undergone changes and have been simplified.
Before I begin, please note that it is always advisable to always respect and seek your parents and in law’s advice rather than follow what I’m going to share below, so please treat this as a sharing guide.
What is Guo Da Li 过大礼?
Guo Dai Li is prepared and given by the groom’s family. It epitomizes the groom’s sincerity of the marriage between the bindings of two families. It is a day which both the groom and bride exchange gifts and cash. It also assure the bride’s family that she will be well taken care of after the marriage, so what happen is, both parties’ parents will discuss and pick and finalized a date for Guo Da Li. Usually the chosen date is 1-4 weeks before the wedding day for the gifts exchange.
To shows the groom’s financial dependability and sincerity, the groom will brings gifts and cash to the bride’s home during the Guo Da Li. The bride’s family will then accept and return aka 回礼 the remaining cash to the groom to avoid giving the impression that they are “selling” their daughter.
Okay, so the tricky part here is what are the lists of items to buy as notable that we have customs unique to Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese dialects.
So here’s what to get after a modern tweak for your convenience.
Things to Get For Guo Da Li 过大礼
Prepared and given by the Groom’s family
▪1 pair of Dragon Candles 一对龙烛
▪1 pair of Phoenix Candle 一对风烛
▪1 Prosperous Red Tray 双喜托盘
▪2 Betrothal Red Basket 过大礼红礼蓝
▪6 cans of Pig Trotters Can 六猪脚罐
– You can get Narcissus Pork Leg with Mushroom(Yellow Can) from Fairprice.
▪12 Oranges 十二粒橙色
▪2 Packet of Traditional Rice Biscuits 两包传统米老饼
▪2 Packet Traditional Sesame Biscuits 两包传统麻老饼
▪2 Packet Traditional Peanuts Candy 两包传统贡糖
▪2 Packets of 5 Colour Auspicious Seeds 两包五色豆
– Red beans, green beans, wheat, soy beans, barley and rice (A bountiful harvests)
▪2 Packets of Four Treasure Jin Guo 两包四京果各
– Dried Longans 桂圆 (To Bless with dragon baby boy)
– Red Dates 红枣 (To have good fortune)
– Lily Buds 百合 (Harmonization)
– Lotus Seeds 莲子 (To have many kids)
▪2 Packets of Sweet Beginnings 两包甜蜜喜糖各
– Rock Sugar 冰糖
– Candied Winter Melon Strips 蜜饯冬瓜条
▪Traditional Wedding Cakes 喜饼
– Check with parents and in laws how many box of cakes are needed to distribute to relatives and friends.
▪2 Bottles of Martell 两盒马爹利酒
▪1 Double Happiness Bag 双喜袋
▪1 Pin Jin Ang Bao, aka Bride Red Packet (聘金红包)
▪1 Li Jin Ang Bao 养育之恩礼金封
▪1 Double Happiness Small Stickers 双喜贴子小
-To paste on small items like oranges, traditional rice biscuit, peanuts candy etc
▪1 Double Happiness Medium size sticker 双喜贴子
-To paste on bigger items like bottles of Martell, the 6 pig trotters can etc.
▪Dowry Jewellery (Bangles, Rings, Necklace and Earring) 四点金
– This will be presented during Guo Da Li Ceremony but given by the groom’s parents during tea ceremony.
▪Ang pow for Matchmaker (If there’s any)
Returning Gifts upon receiving Guo Da Li Gifts: 回礼
Upon receiving and accepting the above Guo Da Li items, the bride’s side is to return part of the items received to the groom.
▪ Half of the pig trotters given (Return 3 cans if you received 6 cans)
▪ 1 Pair of Phoenix Candles (凤烛)
▪ A Portion of the Pin Jin Ang Pow, aka Bride Red Packet (娉金红包)
▪ A Portion of Wedding Cakes (喜饼)
– The bride only keep the number of boxes they need for distribution.
Other than returning part of the gifts 回礼, the bride’s parents also need to prepare and give part of the Dowry 嫁妆 to the groom’s family.
Here is the list of Dowry 嫁妆 items to get. Continue here.
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