Hair Combing Ritual 上头 (Shang Tou) for Hakka and Cantonese

In the past, Chinese wedding couple perform the hair combing ritual to get ready for their big day. Modern couples hire professional makeup artist to help us dress up for the wedding, therefore many couples opt to do without the hair combing ritual because it seems unnecessary. However, the ritual is more than about hair dressing, it is actually a coming of age ceremony for the couple. For Chinese parents, their child is only considered an adult after being married.
In each of their respective home, the groom and bride firstly cleanse themselves with pomegranate leaves soaked in water and put on a pair of new pyjamas. The Cantonese prefer silk pyjamas. An elder that is considered to have good fortune will dress the hair of the couple and comb through their hair three times. Traditionally, the ritual is done at a table next to a window where moon is visible, so that the lunar god of fate, Yue Lao 月佬 could watch over the couple. The red string used at the ritual, symbolized the string of fate, which Yue Lao tie on couples to bind their fate together. At the end of the ceremony, the couple is served glutinous rice ball (pink) soup with red dates and lotus seed.
Items used for the ritual at Groom’s
• 1 ruler
• 1 mirror
• 1 piece of red string (to be tied on the groom at the end of the ceremony)
• 1 pointed comb
Item used for ritual at Bride’s
• 1 ruler
• 1 mirror
• 1 piece of red string (to be tied on the groom at the end of the ceremony)
• 1 rounded comb
Items to be place at altar table
• 1 pair of Dragon and Phoenix candles (to be lit)
• 3 Joss sticks (to be lit)
• Bowls of glutinous rice ball soup ( 6/9 pieces of glutinous rice balls)
• Fruits and meat
Above information courtesy of House of Etiquette
Other Wedding Traditions for Hakka and Cantonese
Betrothal Gift Ceremony 过大礼 (Guo Da Li)
Setting up Matrimonial Bed 安床 (An Chuang)
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)