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Do you know these 10 Singapore Chinese Wedding Traditions?

Despite our generation being increasingly Westernised, weddings in Singapore are still unapologetically traditional. After all, it’s a day where two families come together to celebrate the union of a couple and in big family gatherings like these, we tend to defer to our parents on what the customs should be. So, how many of these Singapore Chinese wedding traditions do you know?

  1. Guo Da Li(过大礼)

During “Guo Da Li”, the groom gifts the bride’s family with a Betrothal Package consisting of items known to be auspicious in Chinese culture, such as mandarin oranges and gold jewelry. Forbidden is the usage of items in the package by the bride, and she is also not allowed to receive the groom during package delivery. In Teochew/Hokkien culture, the betrothal package is delivered on 2 separate days.

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Picture Credits: Singapore Brides

  1. Hui Li (回礼)

The next procedure is known as “Hui Li”, where the bride’s family sends a package to the groom’s family in a returning gesture, a formality observed. As numerous items are to be included in the package, to save some hassle, a red packet is given as “Clothing Fees” instead of clothes for the groom and his family.

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Picture Credits: Singapore Brides

  1. An Chuang (安床)

Another important custom is the setting of the bed in the bridal room, or “An Chuang”. While in Teochew/Hokkien culture the bed is set by the groom’s parents or grandfather, in Cantonese/Hakka culture it is set by supposedly a person of good fortune, at an auspicious date and time. After the bed has been set, nobody is allowed to touch or move it.

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Picture Credits: Feroshan

  1. Sharing the bed

After “An Chuang”, the groom is required to share his bed with a boy with whom his zodiac sign does not clash. This is believed to bring in luck for the continuation of the descendant line.


  1. Hair Combing Ritual

The hair combing ritual takes place on the eve of the wedding ceremony. First, the bride and groom have to wash themselves with water infused with pomelo leaves before the ritual, which is believed to ward off evil, before they change into a brand new set of clothes. Then, they are seated in front of a pair of dragon and phoenix candles, with the bride slipping on new bedroom slippers. For completion of the ritual, glutinous rice balls are eaten to symbolize a sweet and lasting marriage.

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  1. Gatecrash

Thereafter takes place the “gatecrashing”, in which the groom journeys to the bride’s house to fetch her, flanked by his good buddies. They will have to carry out a number of tasks and taste the four flavors: sour, sweet, bitter and spicy, finally giving a red packet to reward the bride’s bridemaids for their hard work, before the bridemaids allow the groom to take the bride away.

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Picture Credits: Wedding Bells

  1. Tea Serving ceremony

A specific set of rules and sequences govern the important tea serving ceremony. The tea ceremony calls for the introduction of everybody in both families: parents, siblings, and relatives. Every last detail, such as the tea brewed from longans and sweet dates for the ceremony, is carefully observed, and there is no room for error-making.

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Picture Credits: Multiculturally Wed

  1. Bride Returning Home (三朝回门)

3 days after the wedding, the bride will return to visit her family. This is in accordance with the theme of filial piety, a traditional belief that although married, a daughter must not forget to be grateful towards her mother, whom has raised her with tender care over many years.

Picture Credits: My Chi Story

  1. Yam Seng

A typical Chinese wedding banquet is a loud affair, what with guests streaming in and mingling with one another before its actual start. Dinner is composed of some 8 to 10 courses, with bride and groom making their appearances in different outfits at certain intervals. A bottle of champagne is popped on stage and guests are urged to raise their glasses in a shout of “Yam Seng”, held as long as they can, for longevity of the marriage.


Picture Credits: Singapore Brides

  1. The Three Elements

The three important elements in a traditional Chinese wedding are: the color red, longans and red dates, and finally an auspicious person to oversee certain rituals in the wedding. All three elements need to be in place for what is considered a successful wedding.

Picture credits to Owner

Article by: Quek Yoke Ling

1 thought on “Do you know these 10 Singapore Chinese Wedding Traditions?

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