Traditional Vietnamese Wedding Ceremony

Meaning

Once upon a time, the marriage process in Vietnam consists of 6 ceremonies. That process is rather cumbersome and inconvenient, so it was gradually compiled into 3 ceremonies which are Proposal (Dạm Ngõ), Engagement (Ăn Hỏi) and Wedding (Cưới). The Wedding Ceremony is the third step in the Marriage process and the biggest of 3 ceremonies. This is a chance to submitted to ancestors and announce to relatives, neighbors, friends and society that the groom and the bride are officially husband and wife. It also shows the respect of the groom’s family towards the bride’s family, especially the bride.

Progress

The first day

Two the groom and the bride families clean and decorate houses, especially the altars and gates. The gate of the bride’s family has a board written words: Vu Quy Ceremony (The ceremony that sends off the bride to her husband’s home). The gate of the groom’s family has a board written words: Tân Hôn Ceremony (The ceremony that welcome the bride). The groom’s family prepares offerings and wedding presents.

On this day, the bride’s family organizes a big party for relatives, neighbors and friends. In the evening, the bride’s family carries out Xuất Giá Ceremony (The ceremony that says to the ancestor and the relative that on the day after, the bride would go to her husband’s home) and the groom’s family carries out Nhóm Họ Ceremony (The ceremony that says to the ancestor and the relatives that on the day after, the groom’s family would welcome the bride). The 2 Xuất Giá and Nhóm Họ ceremonies are carried out simply, but seriously. At the end of the ceremonies, the relatives present gifts for the groom or bride. After that, the groom’s or bride’s family organizes a party for some relatives and some friends.

The second day

Before leaving the house to go to the bride’s house, the groom’s parents check offerings and wedding presents. After that, the master of ceremony that is also representative of the groom’s family hands offering trays to the boys that help to bring offering trays. Arriving at the alley to the bride’s house, the master of the ceremony asks the group to stop and arranges it in order. The group walks in order: the master of the ceremony, the groom, groomsman carrying the box-tray, about 6 boys carrying offering trays, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends.

Arriving at the bride’s house gate the group stops. The master of the ceremony and the groomsman go into the house to carry out Nhập Gia Ceremony (The ceremony to ask permission to go into the house). The six boys hand the offering trays to the six girls in front of the door. The rest of the group went into the house. The six offering trays are set in front of the ancestor altar.

The master of the ceremony introduces the reason for going to the bride’s house and introduces the presence of the groom’s family. The representative of the bride’s family introduces the presence of the bride’s family. The master of the ceremony introdues the offerings and wedding presents that the groom’s family brought to. The representative of the bride’s family receives them and takes some of them to put up the ancestor altar.

The master of the ceremony asks the bride’s family to take the bride to the altar to receive the wedding presents and carry out Vu Quy Ceremony (The ceremony going to the husband’s family). The groom and the bride invite the parents-in-law and the two families drink alcohol.  The master of the ceremony asks permission to welcome the bride and invites the bride’s family to go to the groom’s house to attend the Tân Hôn Ceremony (the ceremony welcoming the bride) and take part in the reception party.

Arriving at the groom’s house, the master of the ceremony invites the bride’s family to sit and he says welcoming words. Then the groom’s parents carry out Tân Hôn Ceremony to say to the ancestor and inform to the community that the bride officially becomes a member of the groom’s family. After that, the groom and the bride offer alcohol to 2 families. The master of the ceremony announces the ceremony ended. The master of ceremony invites the bride’s family to stay to take part in the reception party. When the party finishes, the bride’s representative says goodbye words to the groom’s family.

Some details need to be known

Offerings

All offerings are put into trays and are covered with red cloth. The offerings consist of

– 1 tray of betel leaves and areca nuts,

– 1 tray of tea, alcohol and candles,

– 2 trays of fruit,

– 2 trays of cakes,

– 1 box-tray in which there are a small jar of rice alcohol and 2 small glasses and a red envelope which is put some money. That money is used to share the cost of the wedding ceremony with the bride’s family.

wedding presents

Wedding presents are some jewelry that the groom’s family offers to the bride in the wedding ceremony. Depending on the ability, the jewelry is much or a little. The jewelry is put in a small box and is kept by the groom’s mother until being displayed in front of the bride’s family.

Ancestor worship

How to put things on the ancestor altar

– In front of the altar, at the center, putting a censer and on 2 sides, putting a pair of lampstands.

– In the middle of the altar, putting 3 small glasses of tea and 3 small glasses of alcohol.

– At the back of the altar, in the center, putting photos of the ancestor. On the left of the altar, putting a vase of flowers and on the right of the altar, putting a plate of fruit.

How to carry out ceremony at the altar

– First, the groom’s or the bride’s parents pray (putting sticks of incense on their foreheads and speak to the ancestor), then put incense into the censer and nod 4 times.

– Next, the groom and the bride pray, then put incense into the censer and nod 4 times. Instead of nodding, they can kowtow (kneel and nod to the ground) 4 times)

Sitting position

The table that is in front of the ancestor altar is called Chấp Sự Table (The table is for the important members of 2 families to say about ceremonies). Each important member should sit right of his or her position.

At the bride’s house, the bride’s family sits near the way leading to their dining-room and kitchen. The bride’s parents sit near the altar; next, her grandparents and relatives. At the Groom’s family, the groom’s family sits near the way leading to their dining-room and kitchen. The groom’s parents sit near the altar; next, his parents and relatives

The guests’ gift for the groom or the bride

The guests’ gift for the groom or the bride is usually money. The money should be put in a red envelope which is usually taken from an invitation card that the groom’s or bride’s family sent about 1 week before. Depending on the relationship, the money to present is much or little.

 

 

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