Modern Chinese weddings are a sort of hybrid between traditional proceedings and what is best described as a Western ceremony with Chinese characteristics. The traditional portion usually happens prior to the ceremony, and with only the closer family and friends.
The proceedings begin with the groom and his family’s arrival at the bride’s home early on the day of the wedding. He must fight his way to the bride’s room and perform a variety of literal song and dance in addition to the distribution of many a red envelope (Hong Bao - 紅包) fill with cash. From here, both parties head to the “new home” of the bride and groom. After the bride is welcomed into the new home, the wedding party moves to the wedding venue where a much larger ceremony is held.
On the day of Hanchi’s wedding myself and Geoff’s responsibilities as firecracker-lighters began very early in the morning at the home of the bride. Hanchi’s friends picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the home of the bride where we to be ready to light the firecrackers as the convoy of rented luxury cars containing the Hanchi’s family arrived. We were also tasked with lighting them off again as the wedding party departed the bride’s home.
We were spared any responsibilities at the groom’s home and took a break to have a delicious breakfast of hand-pulled noodles (La Mian - 拉面) in spicy sauce. Following lunch, we arrived at the wedding venue where we were again tasked with lighting off firecrackers as the wedding procession arrived.
The ceremony itself was long and a bit difficult to follow as a non-Chinese speaker, but there was food brought throughout and a bottle of Baijiu (a type of very strong Chinese liquor) at every table.
The ceremony ended pretty early in the afternoon; it was the Chinese National Day, and many guests had plans for the rest of the day. Geoff and I returned to the hotel for a nap and met up with one of Hanchi’s friends for dinner.
After dinner, we watched a water show outside the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔).