Love and Marriage, Hong Kong Style
recent trip to Hong Kong, Journeywoman gossiped and ruminated
with Asian women about love and marriage. They took me window
shopping for bridal gowns, told me about their Grannies' love
rules, explained their courting traditions and even invited
me to my first Chinese wedding. This is what I learned....
you hold your chopsticks -- bottom, top or middle, is
equal to the distance you live from the one you will eventually
marry. That means, hold them at the bottom and you will
marry the boy next door. Hold them at the top and you
will have to travel to find him.
Hong Kong, a prospective husband who feels he has met
the woman of his dreams, offers small wedding cakes to
his future in-laws. If they approve of him, they accept
these "goodies" and distribute them to family and friends
announcing the engagement and making it official. If not,
he's left with an awful lot of cake!
For a Husband...
August 20th, the women of Hong Kong traditionally visit
Lover's Rock in Mid-Levels to leave food offerings, praying
to the deities for kind, prosperous husbands for their
daughters or....at times, for themselves!
Brides Must Avoid Eggplant...
grandmothers say that certain foods must definitely be
avoided at a Chinese wedding banquet. The bride cannot
eat any form of eggplant as that can result in sterility.
And, the groom must be careful not to eat pig's brains
because that delicacy can produce male impotence. And,
providing all goes well and she becomes pregnant, mama-to-be
must avoid eating both rabbit and chicken or her baby
will be born with a hoarse voice.
Loves a Wedding...
Kong, all day Sunday is the best time for bride-spotting.
You'll find these delightful love-struck beauties posing
for their formal photos on the long entry stairway to
the Hong Kong Cultural Center (harbourside in Kowloon).
Expect a wonderful bridal parade with everything from
full length lace to basic black leather. Quite wonderful
invited to a wedding in Hong Kong, try to go with Chinese
guests who will know the ropes. Don't rush out to buy
crystal as a gift. Presents are unusual unless it is money
delivered in a red packet called "laisee." If you are
simply invited as a business associate just go and don't
worry about a present. If the person being married is
the child of a close associate or a long time member of
your Hong Kong agent's staff then get advice as to how
much money to give. Various numbers mean various things:
for example "bat" or "eight" is equal to "fat" or "prosperity."
So your gift should have an eight in it, ie. $88.00. However
the amount will tell in what esteem you hold the person.
(Source: Doing Business With
the Hong Kong Chinese by Elizabeth Thomson)
love and wedding traditions interest you, then make your
way to Hong Kong's Shanghai Street for some culturally-correct
window shopping. On view are the beautiful red silk bridal
outfits traditionally worn at the wedding banquet. Ditto
for the intricately embroidered black silk outfits reserved
for the female elders of the wedding party. Don't be surprised
to find linens and pillows stacked indoors and outside
of these dress shops. This is definitely one-stop Asian
trousseau shopping. Very worth a look-see. Who know? You
might find something perfectly lovely for yourself!
Words on Love...
successful marriage requires falling in love many times
always with the same person.
Mignon McLaughlin - The Second Neurotic's Notebook (1966)
What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part
Helen Keller-We Bereaved (1929)
How do you know that
love has gone? If you said you would be there at seven, you
get there by nine and he has not called the police yet--it's
Marlene Dietrich, Marlene Dietrich's ABC (1962)
(Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women)