and marriage Hong Kong style...
a 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....
say -- Where 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.
Pray For a Husband!
-- Every 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!
Courting -- In 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!
Chinese Brides Must
Avoid Eggplant! -- Chinese 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.
Everybody Loves a Wedding!
-- 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
Wedding Guest Know-How
-- 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 Thomson)
Shopping! -- If 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 knows? You might find something perfectly lovely