Wedding Transportation Traditions: China

Over the last 20 years, we have had the pleasure of working with brides and grooms from different countries.  As a result, we learned about the traditions of different nationalities.

This blog is the first in the series titled “Traditional Wedding Transportation”.  These blogs are dedicated to the colorful history and customs of wedding day festivities from around the world. We hope you will find it as interesting and educational.

wedding transportation
wedding transportation

Chinese Wedding Chair: China

The chair-like sedan was one of the main vehicles in ancient China.  Used primarily by the reach, it was therefore elaborately decorated in colored silk.  Historians believe that the bridal sedan chair tradition probably started in Qing Dynasty.  Emperor Qianlong lent his own chair-like sedan to a village woman on her wedding day.

For weddings, probably even the poor hired a red sedan chair to take the bride to the groom’s house.  Most noteworthy, the ride symbolized the traditional passage from childhood to adulthood.  From one family to another.  Much as from one way of life to another.

wedding transportation
wedding transportation

The chair-like sedan was painted in bright red lacquer.  In addition it was extravagantly decorated with colored silks and golden tassels. It was heavily curtained to prevent the bride from glimpsing an unlucky sight.  A widow, a well, or even a cat were considered an unlucky sight.  Therefore, a sieve and a metallic mirror were hung at the rear of the sedan to protect the bride from evil influence.

Attendants carried the bride and helped her down from the chair.  Once bride is dressed for the wedding, she is not allowed to touch the ground.  The ‘good luck woman’ (not widowed and who has several sons ) was hired by the bride’s family to look after the bride.   Another attendant might shield the bride with a parasol, and a third tossed rice at the sedan chair.  The bride’s procession would be accompanied by the firecrackers to frighten away evil spirits.

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