Marriage Etiquettes of Jing-Chu
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“A man should get married on coming of age, and so should a woman.” is a common Jing-Chu saying. In general, marriage custom in Jing-Chu inherits “Six Etiquettes” from pre-Qin period (before B.C. 221 ), namely: to present betrothal gifts , to ask counterpart’s name and birthday, to worship ancestors for good omen, to send bride prices or dowries, to fix the wedding date and to fetch the bride. On the above basis, the Jing-Chu marriage etiquette has formed its own distinctive features through constant enrichment and development.
There is also the custom of “avoiding the evils, praying for blessings” in Jing-Chu marriage etiquettes. For example, the straw should be put on the wedding bed in order, for it symbolizes safe and smooth life after marriage; if not, it might lead to disharmony between the couple for Chinese character “Heng” has the implication of being unreasonable. When the newly-married daughter-in-law joins the family, the mother-in-law will feed her with dates and peanuts to wish the early birth of a healthy baby. It’s better to have both sons and daughters, 5 sons and 2 daughters being the best, for which is called “5 sons and 2 daughters constitute 7 treasures”.
Ever since pre-Qin period, a set of marriage etiquettes has been established, which has evolved and developed into 20 or 30 procedures today under the advocating of successive dynasties rulers.