In any culture, the institution of marriage is shrouded in traditions, customs, and practices. Although there is a trend at present to keep things minimum and elegant with respect to marriage ceremonies and practices, it is fair to say that in most parts of the world marriage is an aspect of social life that is governed by many traditions and rituals. This is especially true of China, where the rich heritage of the nation has endowed weddings with traditions and rituals galore.
Although the rituals and traditions vary to some degree from location to location in China, there are certain rituals and customs that have remained, more or less, the same, even for a wedding in Guiyang. These particular rituals are what is known as the Three Letters; the betrothal letter, the letter gift, and the wedding letter, and the Six Etiquettes; the proposal, the birthdates, the bride-price, the wedding gifts, the arranging of dates, and the ceremony. In ancient times it was customary that these were followed, however, these practices are common even today and even wedding packages of hotels such Anantara Guiyang Resort respect them.
As per the Six Etiquettes, the wedding starts off with the proposal where the male’s parents would be introduced to their daughter-in-law with a matchmaker, who oversees the betrothal. Next, the matchmaker would check the to- be- wed’s birthdates in accordance with the 8 cyclic characters of Chinese superstitions. Following this, bride’s family sends, through the matchmaker, a letter of betrothal, along with various gifts as the bride price. To which, in turn, the groom’s family sends gifts to the family of the bride in for form of wedding gifts. Here, letters of gifts are exchanged as well. Thereafter, the parties plan the wedding day, by picking an auspicious date so that the couple has good fortune. And finally, the wedding ceremony itself, with smaller rituals such as wedding processions, banquets, and customary music, where the last letter, the wedding letter, is given by the groom to the bride’s family.