The delivery of gifts in a Chinese wedding is commonly known as ‘Guo Da Li’.
The delivery of Chinese wedding gifts is an affirmation of his intent to marry, a display of respect and also demonstration of the groom’s ability of support the family after marriage.
This is normally done within a month from the date of the marriage.
The gift from the groom-to-be would normally include the following:-
- Wedding Biscuits
- Two pieces of red cloth
- Seafood e.g. abalone, dried scallops, dried shrimps, dried squid, sea cucumber, mushrooms, shark fins, fish maw and the must have ‘fa cai’
- Cooked chicken
- Roasted pig (or a piece of it)
- Big fish (signifies abundance)
- Coconut (usually in pairs)
- Wine (use to be rice wine but nowadays substituted with imported ones)
- Dried fruits e.g. dried longan, dried lychee, dried plum and ground nuts
- Others e.g. tea leaves
In this modern day the list of the gift are constantly simplified based on cost and environmental sensitivity. For example, the size of the abalone package has shrunk due to the high price and shark fins may be eliminated from the list in order to be politically correct!
The gifts are delivered by the groom to be accompanied by relatives. There is normally no ceremony and the groom-to-be will take this opportunity to update the bride and in-laws-to-be on the progress of the wedding arrangement. Since many relatives of the bride will be present, this is also an opportunity for the groom-to-be to chat and foster goodwill.
The acceptance of the Chinese wedding gifts is an affirmation from the women’s side of the marriage.
The bride-to-be has to return some gifts in acknowledgement and they would normally include tea leaves, fruits, a pair of trousers, belt, wallet (with a red packet inside), pair of shoes and the remains of the roast pig (after the bride’s family and friends have they way with it!).