In every part of the world, the weddings are celebrated in a unique manner. The inimitable customs and traditions of each speak for their culture all too well. It also depicts some mandatory traditions that have to be followed by the couples. In this article, we will discuss the main ‘hair combing ceremony’ that is an important part of Chinese tradition. This ceremony is usually done separately in the house of bride and groom. It serves two main purposes: first, to style the hair before the wedding. Secondly, it symbolizes the transition of young male and female into adulthood. To help you understand as to how this ceremony takes place, we will divide it into 4 parts.
Although, the couple’s dialect group decides the final time. However, the eve of the wedding is an ideal time to initiate the ritual. Other times include midnight, or if circumstances allow, on the morning of the wedding. Here, an important thing to remember is that one must initiate female’s ceremony one hour ahead of the male’s. Contrary to that, some dialect group might start both at the same time.
Hao Min Po, known as the ‘fortune lady’ has to lead the tradition. It could be any relative who is close or otherwise or a friend (with children and grandchildren) excluding the widows. The bride and groom’s family is present at the time of the ritual. Furthermore, the couple is expected to bathe with pomelo leaves and change into new clothes. This is done in order to shun evil spirits. For good luck, the clothing has to be in red.
In order to conduct this ceremony, you will need: A set of thuja leaves, red dates, phoenix candles, dried longans, and a plate full of lotus seeds. Other than that, you will need rice ball soup, roasted chicken, some fruits as well as joss sticks.
Bride: red string, sewing kit, ruler, a pair of round combs.
Groom: red string, ruler, a pair of pointed combs, mirror.
Before the company, the pair has to sit in front of an open window where the sight of the moon is clear. The food items along with candles have to be put on a table. The couple is expected to pray to their ancestors in heavens before the phoenix candles.
The ‘Hao Min Po’ then combs the hair four times, and says the following each time.
Ist Comb: May your marriage last a lifetime!
Second Comb: May you be blessed with a happy and harmonious marriage until old age!
Third Comb: May you be blessed with an abundance of children and grandchildren!
Fourth Comb: May you be blessed with longevity!
In the last few steps, the bride clips the thuja leaves in her hair, while the groom puts these in his pockets. Then, when the ritual is completed, the couple is expected to eat the food, especially, rice balls. The meaning behind this last custom is that it is a symbol of a long-lasting marriage that survives all the bad times. Finally, when the candles burn out, the bride and groom can go to sleep.
China is one of those counties that have always hold onto old traditions. The hair combing ceremony is a testimonial of this, and it also has great significance.