Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Marriage

Traditionally, marriage is the one end and aim set forth for a girl;this is the goal to which she is taught to look forward,or to which her parents look forward for her, for it matters little about the girl herself. She is almost a nonentity in matter: her wishes are not consulted; she has often never seen her future husband at all. A man does not marry so much for his own benefit as for that of the family: to continue the family name; to provide descendants to keep up the ancestral worship;and to give a daughter-in-law to his mother to wait on her and be, in general, a daughter to her.

A go-between is one of the most important matter. All having been satisfactorily arranged, the money agreed upon in the contract having been paid to the girl;s father, the final ceremonial which hands her over to her husband is performed. She is dressed in her best, and, when the procession comes for her, is placed in the grand, red, marriage sedan-chair, in which she never rides again. Her trousseau is sent to her future home before her marriage, and is made the occasion for a procession, the bearers of the various objects being clad in red jackets, and parading through the streets. Should the bride-elect die before her marriage, the future husband married his dead bride; but as the Chinese customs with regard to men are different from those with regard to women, he is free to marry again.

The first important ceremony is the bride going in the red sedan-chair to the bridegroom's house. Another important thing is for the bridegroom to receive his bride, he coming to the chair to do so. Then they worship the ancestors of the bridegroom in all their generations of that surname. It is Chinese etiquette for the guests invited to a marriage to call to congratulate the father of the bridegroom on the morning of the marriage. A big banquet follows to all invited and people often joke with the new couple until late night when the new couple are left alone in their room.

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