Chinese Wedding Prank

The informant is an eighteen-year old student from Los Angeles. He was born in Taipei and received schooling in America. He had been studying in Taipei before moving back to the United States for university. He speaks Chinese and English and will be referred to in this transcript as “GS.”

And then, um, another tradition is that, which I never saw but I heard about was that the family and friends would basically try to get the couple into bed. So, like, after, um, after the banquet, you know, the couple might go home you know and have their what is usually considered their first time in bed together, okay, so the couple will be resting and then of course, all the family and friends will come knocking on the door, you know, and they burst in the door with like, drinks and, like, lots of chatter and they’re like, they’ll like have chaos in the party in the room and then the last thing they’ll do before they go away, usually be soon which is usually like after a few hours is make sure that the couple are in bed, like physically in bed under the sheets together and then they’ll leave. Thinking that they have done their duty of getting the couple together in, to have, you know, sex. So that’s two things I’ve, um, heard about Chinese weddings.

On the other hand, uh, the interrupting them when they’re in the room is also a prank, but it’s a prank geared towards you know getting the couple to be in bed. You know, to have sex. So it’s kind of like ensuring that they have sex. I mean, there’s like a focus on producing a child, uh, like after marriage in Chinese culture, I guess for every culture there is but especially in Chinese culture and having a son but, um, for this I think it’s to ensure that you’re making children and ensure that you guys are gonna, you know, have sex. I guess for more conservative families this might be a way of saying, okay now you can have sex, now that you’re married you can have sex.

I agree with GS’ explanation of the conservatism of Chinese culture informing the insistence that the couple produces children as quickly as possible after the marriage. In this tradition, the couple is not allowed to simply go to bed together: First the family must invade the home, as if to make their mark of familial values. The partying and games that follow seem to be suggestive of the life they hope the couple will be able to enjoy for themselves someday. Then the family must actually ensure that the couple is in bed together, as if an outside force was necessary to coerce the couple into reproduction. This oddly invasive part of the wedding ceremony reinforces how strongly the rest of the family feels about the continuity in their family. As GS explained, the continuity of the male line is incredibly important, so making sure the couple begins having children as soon as possible increases the chances of a boy being born.