Love and Marriage, Hong Kong Style
On a 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!
Pray 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,
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.
|In Hong 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 to watch!
|If you're 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. Proceed cautiously!
(Source: Doing Business With the Hong Kong Chinese by Elizabeth
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 of us.
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 gone.
Marlene Dietrich, Marlene Dietrich's ABC (1962)
(Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women)
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