Chinese and German Wedding Cultures

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Chinese and German Wedding Cultures

The two cultures I chose to analyze for this project were China and Germany. I chose Germany because I lived there briefly while serving in the military and understand some of their culture and traditions but want to know and understand more. I chose China because I believe their wedding traditions as well as their culture varies greatly from our own. I entered into this project with the belief that the German wedding traditions would be very similar to the United States wedding traditions and the Chinese wedding traditions would be very different from our own but didn’t know what to expect. As I was researching ancient Chinese wedding traditions I found the proposal and betrothals processes very lengthy and elaborate. I learned that much more work went into having the parents decide if the marriage would work long before the bride and groom ever met. Children were often betrothed at a young age and that betrothal remained until the children had grown to marriageable age. (Jochim, 2007) Many times, so much time and effort went into the proposal, betrothal, and preparation yet the ceremony itself was relatively quick and non-eventful. I formed a negative impression when researching these old ancient Chinese traditions because I don’t think its right for parents to choose who their children marries based solely on family wealth and family alliances. I think people should be free to choose whomever they want to enter into marriage with. There were few times when the betrothal would be annulled and it doesn’t seem fair to the bride and groom to have no say in the matter. A lot of emphasis was also placed on fertility, especially male descendents. While I think having children is a wonderful experience and that everyone should have at least one, I don’t think the bride and groom should be forced to produce children if they don’t want them. Great care was placed in the location of the bridal bed and often times a “good luck woman” or “good luck man” (those who have many children) were brought in to help place the bed in just the right location. Children were also brought into the bridal bed to bless it with fertility. (Jochim, 2007) Traditional wedding dresses were made of red silk and were ornately decorated with pictures of dragons (males) and Phoenixes (females). (Jochim, 2007) This style of wedding dress is very different than what I’m used to seeing at weddings in the United States. I found it very interesting that the color red is symbolic in Chinese culture and signifies joy and celebration when in the United States a bride would receive a lot of raised eyebrows if she wore a red dress. Upon forming a negative opinion about ancient Chinese wedding traditions I was relieved to read about modern Chinese wedding traditions. In many modern regions of China, many of the old traditions are no longer used. Many of the modern cities such as Shanghai and Beijing have adopted many of the United States traditions such as wearing a white wedding dress and most importantly to me, not being betrothed to a stranger. Modern day China has abandoned many of the old traditions but still believes in matching astronomical dates and signs. (Zhang, 2005) It was interesting how I found it satisfying that their culture is adopting our traditions and found myself feeling let down when reading how many less modern regions still believe in and practice ancient Chinese traditions such as pre-arranged marriages. I think some of my opinions are due to ignorance on my part because I don’t know more about the Chinese culture nor do I truly understand their traditions. I found it frustrating to find articles that really explain their culture and traditions because wedding vary greatly from one region to the next. Just like in the United States, wedding can contain various ancient traditions but can also be mixed with modern traditions. Not only is each region unique in its cultures and traditions, but modern...
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