Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guo Da Li

Before the wedding, the chinese tradition of Guo Da Li (GDL) or formal betrothal takes place.

Traditionally a lady of good fortune (someone who is married and has children) will come to the bride's home with the bridegroom and present the gifts from his family. This is his assurance that he will abide by and honour his promise. The bride's family will receive the gifts as a sign of acceptance of the marraige and will in return present the dowry to the groom's family.

When to do it: Usually 2 weeks before the customary wedding, sometimes up to 1 month before actual day.

What to prepare:
(1) Wedding cakes
This is to give relative's and parent's friends

(2) 2 bottles of brandy

(3) 2 pairs of Dragon & Phoenix Candles

(4) Even number of oranges

(5) At least 6 cans of pork trotters

(6) Red packet with bride downry ("Pin Jin" 聘金)
This is either pre-agreed during the wedding negotiation or the bride's parents may leave it to the grooms side to decide and usually presented in even amounts in a red packet.

The groom side will usually prepare more than the pre-agreed amount.

(7) 2 packets of peanut candies (Teochew bride) and rice candies (Hokkien bride)

(8) Jewellery (四点金)
This is the four piece jewellery. This is considered the mother-in-law's welcome gift to the bride.

The bride is expected to wear the betrothal jewellery during the wedding day or at wedding banquet so that all the relatives have opportunities to appreciate the gifts.

The bride family will return the following to the groom:
(1) 2 bottles of orange syrup in exchange for the 2 bottles of brandy

(2) 2 phoenix candles ( the bride's family will keep the dragon candles)

(3) Even number portion of gifts

(4) Red packet for groom's parents to buy shoes, towels etc

(5) Even number portion of the bride price to be returned in red packet.
Usually part of the bride price will be returned to indicated that:
- the groom's family is overly generous
- the bride's family is not greedy
- the two families will share good fortune

Other matters:

If the couple has to exchange wedding gifts on the auspicious date and the bridegroom has to arrive at the bride's house before the selected auspicious time.

Those with altars at home: At the auspicious time, the couple has to pray to the gods and exchange gifts at the bride' house.

Those without altars at home: At the auspicious time, the couple has to exchange gifts at the bride's house.

Invitation cards:

They can then proceed to send invitation cards and gifts to friends and relatives.

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