Wedding Tea Ceremony
I would like more detailed information regarding the Tea ceremony
performed at Chinese weddings. I have read the website information
regarding the tea ceremony on the wedding day. However I would like
more information as to why are only the grooms parents offered tea.
Can the brides parents also be offered tea? Is there a symbolic
significance to this? What physical position should they be served tea, sitting or standing?
I will be participating in a traditional Chinese wedding, will need
to explain this beautiful ceremony to non-Chinese individuals and would
appreciate any immediate information you may have to help me out. Thank
you very much.
Significance of the Tea:
Tea is probably used because it is Chinas national drink and serving it
is a sign of respect. Using tea is practical because not everyone can
Lotus seeds and two red dates are used in the tea for two reasons.
First, the words lotus and year,
seed and child, and date and
early, are homophones, i.e. they have the same sound but
different meanings in Chinese. Secondly, the ancient Chinese believed
that putting these items in the tea would help the newlyweds produce
children early in their marriage and every year, which would ensure many
grandchildren for their parents. Also, the sweetness of the special tea
is a wish for sweet relations between the bride and her new family.
Serving the Tea:
On the wedding day, the bride serves tea (holding the teacup with
both hands) to her parents at home before the groom arrives. She does
this out of respect and to thank her parents for raising her. The tea at
this time does not need to have the lotus seeds or dates, and the bride
does not need the assistance of a lucky woman. She pours and
serves the tea by herself without the groom.
Traditionally, after the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds serve tea
(holding the teacups with both hands), inviting the grooms elders
to drink tea by addressing them by formal title, e.g. first uncle or
The general rule is to have the woman on the left side and the man
on the right side. The people being served will sit in chairs, while the
bride and groom kneel. For example, when the newlyweds serve tea to the
grooms parents, the bride would kneel in front of her
father-in-law, while the groom would kneels in front of his mother.
The newlyweds serve tea in order, starting with the grooms
parents then proceeding from the oldest family members to the youngest,
e.g. the grooms parents, then his paternal grandparents, then his
maternal grandparents, then his oldest uncles and aunts, and all the way
to his older brother.
In return, the newlyweds receive lucky red envelopes (lai
see, which means lucky) stuffed with money or jewelry.
The helpers, who are usually women blessed with a happy marriage or
wealth and chosen by the fortune teller or brides mother, also get
lucky red envelopes stuffed with money from those being served. These
envelopes are placed on the platter which holds the teacups.
Answer Contributed By: L.K. Yee
Chinese Wedding Traditions and