Wedding customs: in China, the bride must cry

I’ve witnessed and heard about strange wedding customs but this one is, by far, the strangest of all. Or, maybe not.

In west Sichuan Province, the custom is called “Zuo Tang (Sitting in the Hall)”. Usually, the bride begins to cry a month before the wedding day. As the night falls, the bride walks inside the hall and weeps for about an hour. Ten days later, her mother joins her, crying together with her.; Another ten days later, the grandmother joins the daughter and mother, to cry together with them. The sisters and aunts of the bride, if she has any, also have to join the crying.

The bride may cry in different ways with diversified words, which was also called “Crying Marriage Song”; the somewhat exaggerated singing helps to enhance the wedding atmosphere. In a word, crying at wedding is a way by custom to set off the happiness of the wedding via falsely sorrowful words… [China Daily]

A bride who did not cry was looked down on and there have been cases when mothers beat their daughters for not crying at their wedding. Weird, huh? Well, every culture has its share of weird wedding customs.

In Sudan, a man must give the woman’s parents sheep or cattle to make up for the lost labor. In Sandakan, Sabah, bowel movement and urinating by newlyweds are believed to cause broken marriage, infertility, or death of their children at a young age. In some places in Africa, the honeymoon is often interrupted by virginity checks.

Then, there was Auee’s entry about a documentary about bride kidnapping in Krygyztan. It shocked many people — me, included — until I read that in Anglo-Saxon, Welsh and Arab cultures, the bride has no way of showing her chastity and modesty unless there is a “capture” to which she can resist.

Well, I bet that the brides of west Sichuan Province will find just as strange Filipino customs like pinning bills on the bride’s and groom’s clothes while they danced. Or even the practice of throwing rice as a symbol of prosperity. Just a few generations ago, there was the paninilbihan which, according to a wedding site, is still subconsciously being practiced today even in urban areas.

Paninilbihan is said to be a long forgotten tradition where the marrying man attends to some daunting chores for the family of the bride to show his worth, fortitude and responsibility. The fact is, it is still sub-conciously practiced by the modern Filipino society in a much simpler scale (thank goodness!). Since Filipinos parents prefer to see their daughter’s boyfriend pay a visit in the house than date elsewhere, he is more-or-less considered a part of the household than a guest. So it comes as no surprise when the family members ask simple favors from him such as driving the mom to the supermarket or fixing busted lights in the kitchen. Come to think of it, future sons-or-daughters-in-law are expected to run some simple errands for their would-be-in-laws if he/she seeks some approval. These little favors forms part of the paninilbihan process still deeply imbibed in the Filipino psyche. [Wedding Guru]

And let’s not forget the superstitions.

Brides shouldn’t try on her wedding dress before the wedding day or the wedding will not push through.

Knives and other sharp and pointed objects are said to be a bad choice for wedding gifts for this will lead to a broken marriage.

Giving arinola (chamberpot) as wedding gift is believed to bring good luck to newlyweds.

Altar-bound couples are accident-prone and therefore must avoid long drives or traveling before their wedding day for safety.

The groom who sits ahead of his bride during the wedding ceremony will be a henpecked husband.

If it rains during the wedding, it means prosperity and happiness for the newlyweds.

A flame extinguished on one of the wedding candles means the one on which side has the unlit candle, will die ahead of the other.

Throwing rice confetti at the newlyweds will bring them prosperity all their life.

The groom must arrive before the bride at the church to avoid bad luck.

It is considered bad luck for two siblings to marry on the same year.

Breaking something during the reception brings good luck to the newlyweds.

The bride should step on the groom’s foot while walking towards the altar if she wants him to agree to her every whim.

A bride who wears pearls on her wedding will be an unhappy wife experiencing many heartaches and tears.

An unmarried woman who follows the footsteps (literally) of the newlyweds will marry soon.

Dropping the wedding ring, the veil or the arrhae during the ceremony spells unhappiness for the couple. [Asia Recipe]

Ummm, okay… I tried on my wedding dress several times before the wedding and the wedding took place as scheduled. I wore pearls too — three strands of rice pearls — and I can’t say I’m an unhappy wife. Well, I guess that’s why they’re called superstitions.


  1. says

    Kung nagkataon palang taga Sichuan ako, malamang bugbog sarado ako sa nanay ko hehe! Di ako naiyak nun eh. :p

    Yung kandila namin nun patay sindi kasi hinahangin ng fan. Masama din daw yun di ba? So far okay pa naman kami or is it early to tell kasi mag-3 years pa lang kaming kasal? ;-)

  2. says

    If you don’t try on your wedding dress before the wedding date, how would you ever know it will fit and fit properly at that?

    Superstition is sometimes derived from religion. So they say. I don’t believe in any of them.

    By the way, this is a nice theme… compared to the one just previous to this. ;)

  3. says

    The Mentat, re “If you don’t try on your wedding dress before the wedding date, how would you ever know it will fit and fit properly at that?”

    Ayayay, I know so many brides who would rather risk wearing an ill-fitting dress.

    “By the way, this is a nice theme… compared to the one just previous to this.”

    LOL I agree. The other one was an experiment on space. Nice space, lousy colors hehehe

  4. says

    The colors weren’t bad. It was my inability to see and read the title of the top post that was bothering me. Or is it because I’m using Firefox? :D

    And I didn’t there were brides like that. I’ve always thought brides would be at their most vain when it comes to their own weddings. :D

  5. says

    ano ba!? kinikilig ang batok ko sa tradisyon na’yan.. hahaha :P makikiusisa nga ako sa officemates ko bukas. nadelay na pala ‘ko sa news.

    ang alam ko lang e ‘yung kailangang buhatin ng groom yung karitelang sinasakyan ng bride mula sa pinagkasalan pauwi ng bahay.

  6. says

    May “crying ladies” din pala sa kasal. Alam ko lang sa patay. In our province of Pura, Tarlac you can hire old ladies to cry for your dearly departed. My relatives do that all the time.

    Naku, if you follow all those pamahiins maloloka ka talaga. Sinabihan nga ako about that “stepping on the husband’s foot” deal. Eh, di ko naman kailangan yun. Nakukuha naman sa tingin itong asawa ko..hehehe :)

  7. says

    The Mentat, I thought that only happened with IE?? I’m about to redo the design of Pinoy Cook precisely because of the same problem.

    kotsengkuba, eh yung kailangan buhatin ng groom ang bride pagpasok sa bahay?

    Kongkong, re “In our province of Pura, Tarlac you can hire old ladies to cry for your dearly departed.”

    Really? I thought that was a purely Chinese tradition.

    Ako din, nakukuha sa tingin ang asawa ko BWAHAHAHAHA

  8. says

    On virginity check, a genuine Chinese shared with me one time that in a certain province in China, there used to be a tradition of hanging the blood stained white sheet used during the first night by the newly weds, on the front door of the house.

  9. says

    nagtanong-tanong ako sa office kanina tungkol sa wedding tradition na’yan, hindi daw sila familiar kase every province daw e may kanya-kanyang tradisyon. ang laki kaya ng china, hahaha :P

    minsan umattend ako ng kasal nung isang office mate ko, ang seremonyas lang nila dun sa reception e lahat ng lalake susubuan ng sigarilyo tapos kailangan sindihan ng bride ‘yung yosi. etong mga male guests na makukulit, umaakyat pa sa lamesa para buhatin ng groom ‘yung bride habang sinisindihan ‘yung yosi. tapos may mga kung anu-ano pang gimik para pahirapan yung bride. ang sabi para daw ‘yun maging prepared ‘yung bride na pagsilbihan ang groom.

    Sa part naman ng groom, ang tanging obligasyon nya lang e makipag-toast sa lahat ng guest. oh ha! masochistic ba ang mga ‘to?

  10. says

    Rhodora, even before I approved your comment I checked first if you’re back on blogging mode hehehe… Are you really back? The latest entry is kinda ambivalent. :)

    Re virginity check. I object! There should be a similar one for males. :twisted:

    Kotsengkuba, “para daw ‘yun maging prepared ‘yung bride na pagsilbihan ang groom”

    I object din. Dapat yung lalaki magsilbi sa babae. Sobra sila.

  11. says

    I’m back – quite. Just testing the waters muna, kaya quote lang ang pinost ko. :)

    Virginity check for males? Paano? Naku, some images are playing in my mind right now. Ang sama! Haha!

  12. says

    Nung makita ko list mo naalala ko yung praktis sa binyag. Itinatakbo palabas yung bata – di ko na maalala kung bakit – pero supposedly dapat magtakbuhan sila pati sponsors & dapat mauna yung bininyagan. Ewan.

    re: crying bride
    Di ba sa ancient Egypt, all the pharaoh’s wives & concubines are sealed within the tomb, too?

  13. says

    auee, di sila natatakot mahulog yung baby???

    Re Pharaoh’s wives and concubines: O, sa India naman the widow jumps into the husband’s funeral pyre, di ba? And it’s still being done in remote villages.

  14. says

    In fact,nowadays,Chinese marriage customs have changed in many aspects,and it’s more and more similar to the western ones. China is delevoping very fast and many old customs have already gone. I don’t think they must cry for their weddings now. What u wrote are just some old and traditional customs. They are not popular with young Chinese any more.

  15. says

    nung kinasal ako umiyak ako kasi ung ring ko nahulog ng ring bearer pero hindi pa un na bless ng pari grabe talaga ang iyak ko nun pero happy naman kami ngayon ng asawa ko hahay….sabagay superstitious nga…hehe

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