Betrothal Gift Ceremony 过大礼 (Guo Da Li) for Hakka and Cantonese

Marriage brings about the union of two families. Proper etiquettes need to be followed during the betrothal gift ceremony as a form of respect to both families and show of sincerity for the union.
Traditionally, the Hakka people require a match maker (媒婆) to make a marriage proposal, and it was considered improper to not have a go between. For Cantonese weddings, they would also engage a match maker (大妗姐) to help with the wedding. After the match is set up, both families would select an auspicious date to meet and have the Betrothal Gift Ceremony
The main purpose of the meeting is for the groom’s family to make a formal proposal to the bride’s family. After the bride’s family accepts their gifts, which should all be in even number, an auspicious date for the wedding will picked and details of wedding will be discussed. Afterwards, the bride family will return portion of the gifts (usually half), a gesture to say that they wish to maintain a good relationship with the groom’s family (有来有往) and include the bride’s dowry for the groom’s family to bring back.
Gifts for the Groom to bring over IMG_9821
• 1 Angbao with betrothal gift money 聘金 (Typically an amount with 8)
• 2 pair of Double Happiness candles (2 dragon 2 phoenix) 龙凤烛
• Roast Pork (Gift for Mother-In-law)
• Hard liquor or red/white wine (Gift for Father-in-Law)
• Traditional wedding cakes (For bride’s family to distribute to relatives)
• 8-12 Oranges ( Symbolize good luck)
• 12-16 Apples (Symbolize peace)
• Seafood (Sea cucumber, abalone, scallop, shark fin, cuttlefish, dried prawn, dried oyster, dried mushroom, dried fish maw)
• Black Moss, Fa Cai 发菜 ( To strike rich)
• 1 Gift Box 礼金盒 containing
– Jewelry (For the bride)
– *Cantonese only* Gold Dragon and Phoenix Bangle 龙凤镯
– Dried Longan 龙眼 (Bless with a dragon boy) 早生贵子
– Red date 鸿运当头 (To have good fortune)
– Lily bulbs 百年好合 (A harmonious union)
– Walnut/ Peanut 和和气气 ( To have harmony) IMG_9831
– Lotus seeds 连连生子 (To have many children)
– Dried tangerine 大吉大利 (To have great luck)
– Pine tree leaf 长寿 (If bride’s family has grandparents. Symbolized longevity and health, health and vitality for couple),
– Dried melon slice 甜甜蜜蜜 ( Sweet life together)
• A pair of Coconut 有爷有子 (Homophone for Grandfather and Child. To have a family with multi-generation)
• Double Happiness Stickers
• Red banner to hang over door
• *Hakka only* Suan pan zi 算盘子
Gifts for the Bride’s family to return
• Gold Ring, or watch, or cufflinks, or belt, or wallet with an Angbao inserted (For the groom)
• 2 bottles of orange juice or syrup (For good luck)
• Portion of the gift received from groom (Usually half will be returned)
• Fatt Koh 发糕 (Symbolize prosperity)
• *Cantonese only* Pants or suit 福 (For the groom to have lifelong good fortune)
Dowry from Bride’s family ( Groom to bring the items back to the bridal chamber)
• Furniture such as bed, mattress or dressing table
• 1 Sewing machine/Sewing kit (To be bound together)
• 1 Ruler 子孙尺 (To have many children and grandchildren) IMG_9817
• Clothing and accessories for the Bride (To always have things to wear)
– Bag/ Purse with Angbao inserted
– New clothes stuffed with longan
– New shoes for the bride
• Essentials 子孙三宝 (To symbolize fertility)
– Bath Basin
– Wash basin
– Spittoon
– Mug
– Towel
– Toothpaste
– Toothbrush
• Linen (Pillow covers and bed sheet)
• Tea set (For tea ceremony at groom’s side)
• Bowl set
• 2 pair of Chopstick 早生贵子 (To have off springs soon)
• 1 pair of Bedside Lamp 添丁发财 (To symbolize fertility and wealth)
• 1 Red umbrella (To be left in bride’s home for use on wedding day)
• Da Yuan Xiao Yuan 大缘小缘 (For setting up matrimonial bed 安床. Place some at 4 corners of the bed, of the room and in cupboards and drawers)
• Jewelry (optional)
Above information courtesy of House of Etiquette
Other Wedding Traditions for Hakka and Cantonese
Setting up Matrimonial Bed 安床 (An Chuang)
Hair Combing Ritual 上头 (Shang Tou)
Fetching the Bride 接新娘 (Jie Xin Niang)
Leaving the Bride’s House 出阁 (Chu Ge)
Entering the groom’s house 过门 (Guo Men)
Returning to bride’s home 三朝回门 (San Chao Hui Men)