Thursday, January 5, 2006

Some questions answered

Thanks to my friend, who sent me some quotes from Rosemary Gong's Good Luck Life: The Essential Guide to Chinese American Celebrations and Culture, I see some reason to the madness.
The future bride's mother and father could receive money in red envelopes for "shoes" and "pants" respectively, because in Cantonese the word "shoes" is similar sounding to "harmony", and "pants" sounds like "fortune." The groom could also give unmarried older brothers or sisters of the bride "pants" or "skirt" money in red envelopes for marrying over their birth order.

Not to be forgotten, the groom receives gifts too: a pair of pants, a pair of shoes, a belt and a new wallet containing ninety-nine dollars, and the family's wedding gift of Chinese jewelry. The future bride will often send her fiancé a watch as part of the jewelry collection.
This confirms that it is NOT a suit but just a pair of pants (though I wonder if there are regional ancestral differences and what are Gong's sources). These explanations are interesting and the other parts sound good enough (I've never knew all this stuff) that I ordered a copy for myself and I can't wait to find out more. Sidenote: I got fiance a watch already. :)

And the significance of the number 9 (I always thought that the groom had to bribe the female guards that protect the bride on the wedding day with an amount with the number 9 in it because it made the number look bigger, like when things are $9.99 and you think it's not quite $10...):
Nine - connotes long life because of its similarity to the word for enduring. The Temple of Heaven in Beijing incorporates many nines in its design: The upper terrace of the altar is ninety feet tall: the platform of the temple has nine concentric circles of marble slabs. Even the marble balusters are in multiples of nine.
Doubling the digits, such as 5-5, 7-7, and 9-9, is considered good luck.
Pairing the items doubles the fortune.

No comments: