Monday, May 17, 2010

Chinese Tea Ceremony

I was reading Windy Skies post on gold and marriages in India- it made me think of the Gold involved in Chinese Tea Ceremonies. For our family, the tea ceremony is a way to not only thank the parents but also to introduce the bride to the family she is being married into.

Each member of the family has a 'title'- you don't just call your aunts and uncles- "aunt" or "Uncle"- you have to refer to them by the order they were born. So forinstance the eldest 'aunt' would be "First Auntie"- or in Hokkein it is "Tuah Kohr" and "Second Auntie" is "Je Kohr" and for uncles you would say "Tuah Chek" and "Je Chek" continuing on down the line. 


As the tea is being offered, not only does the new bride have to 'call' her new family member by their title- but they also are introduced to the bride. After sipping the tea, they return it to the tray with a red packet. This red packet contains either money or, on most occasions, it will contain gold jewelry. 
Although it has been a long time since I performed the tea ceremony at my wedding; I do remember the mental gymnastics I went through trying to keep every title in order. My mother in law stood next to me and coached me on what to say for each new relative who appeared in front of me.

When my son was married, we did the tea ceremony at the reception dinner.  It was a great time of introduction. Laughter abounded as we all tried to remember what 'title' was to be bestowed on each person. After all the elders were served, then the younger generation comes and greets the bride and groom and now the bride and groom give them a 'red packet'- thus establishing the fact they are now 'elders'. The bride and groom are introduced to the family with a wonderful spirit of joy!

21 comments:

  1. Anjuli,
    This is very informative post. Never knew anything abt Chinese culture. Going to tweet about it.

    I wish you post like this more often. :-)

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  2. A very interesting culture and ceremony..

    thanks Nisha for the tweet

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  3. Nisha- Thanks for the tweeting- oh btw I added two pics of my son's wedding tea ceremony- strange to think they already have a little baby now!! :)

    Lakshmi- thanks for visiting!!

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  4. I love traditions like this. It's a great way to meet family and share a laugh. At our wedding, our mothers did something similar for us. My mother stood by my husband and his mom by me to help us figure out who all the guests were as they came up to congratulate us. It was a lovely, lovely day.

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  5. Joan- Oh it sounds like your wedding day was wonderful- I love how family make our special days all the more special.

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  6. Anjuli, I must say that this is a good piece of informative blog. There are different traditional customs prevalent in different countries. We know a little about them. Thanks for the post. Bye.

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  7. Rithun- thanks for your kind comment.

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  8. I love the tea ceremony. It is one of the most lovely and gracious traditions.
    Hope all goes well for your newly graduated daughter also.
    -Dana

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  9. Dana- I love this ceremony as well. It something I hope my family continues to 'honor' throughout the generations.

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  10. Anjuli,
    yes, I saw the pictures too. They make a lovely couple. yeah true, time flies so fast.

    P.S.- Just an off note. Can you pls put a plugin for subscribing to comments? It's great way to follow/know replies to ur comments w/o coming to site.

    I am sure blogspot has some.

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  11. Where has my comment gone ??????????

    Anjuli, Pls check ur spam too.

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  12. Nisha- I see both your comments. How do I check my spam? I have a word verification thing set up for spam- is there something else I need to do?

    Also, I think blogger or blogspot allows you to click on something in the comment box- below your name which says you can receive follow up comments- I'll check if there are other ways to do that. Thanks for the heads up on this!!

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  13. Anjuli,

    Very informative post. Thanks.

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  14. A- with you being in China- you should check to see if they still carry out this tradition. (the wedding tea ceremony)

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  15. So beautiful...thank u for sharing this. Loved it!!!!
    U knw in India we take it for granted but we also call our uncles and aunts something like... big uncle, small uncle and tiny uncle....in our language ofcourse;-D

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  16. Reflections- that is so interesting- I really love hearing how everyone does things...so many differences AND yet..so many similarities.

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  17. A very beautiful tradition indeed.

    Michelle Rafter

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  18. What lovely way to be introduced into a family. I enjoyed learning about it, and might not have, had it not been your favorite post.

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  19. Michelle- I do love this tradition and plan to follow it when both my daughters are married

    Bike Lady- This is a fun way to be introduced to a family, that is for sure!! I loved your favorite post- still grinning from your statement about the watching t.v.! ha ha! (yes I'm silly- small things like that make me smile)

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  20. In so many cultures people have lost respect for their elders. This tradition, at marriage, seems like a great way to bring a certain focus to the difference in generations within a family.

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  21. Yeah, Chinese tea ceremonies are interesting. My Chinese friend tied the knot recently at Seattle Wedding venues and I attended all their wedding rituals. Those were very unique but wonderful. Totally enjoyed their Chinese wedding.

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