Chinese wedding ceremony

Genre: customary lore

Category: ceremony

Collection date: Apr.27th, 2022

Main piece:  

“In traditional Chinese weddings, there is a step where the bride and groom would need to kowtow to three things. First, they salute the sky and earth; second, they salute their parents; and finally, the bride and groop would salute each other.”

Contextual data:

Social context:

The informant learned this folklore from movies, televisions, and stories. It is no longer a custom performed in regular daily lives, but it is a concept known by most people. 

Cultural context:

The informant has a mixed cultural background of northern and southern Chinese. He defines himself to have a stronger connection with northern China, specifically Beijing. 

Informant’s comment:

“This ceremony has a similar purpose as the exchange of rings and swearing oath in a western wedding. It represents the traditional Chinese understanding of marriage. Kowtow to the sky and earth to show people’s respect towards nature; kowtow to parents to thank them for raising themselves; kowtow to each other to show their respect towards each other. ”

My comment: 

This is a tradition rarely practiced in modern times. However, people still know it from stories and are still influenced by it.