So, the big day is over and you’ve been blissfully married to your love. Now what? Though the chaos of the wedding day might be over, there’s still more to come. Chinese tradition stipulates that several rituals be performed in the days following the wedding ceremony to make sure that appreciation has been shown to both the bride’s and groom’s families.
On the morning after the wedding, the bride should awaken early to honor her new family. Traditionally, the bride would get up and dawn to offer sacrifices to her ancestors. This was also the time when she was formally introduced to her new family for the first time. Typically, modern Chinese newlyweds will visit the groom’s family home the morning after the wedding, where the bride will sometimes cook a meal for her new relatives.
Three days after the wedding, the couple visits the bride’s family home. This is sometimes the bride’s last chance to spend time with her family, and historically, brides would oftentimes be moving far away to live with the groom’s family. Though these days travel is much more accessible, the third day visit is still an important ritual for new Chinese brides.
Gift exchange is a very important part of the post-wedding activities. When visiting the groom’s family on day one, the bride will cook a meal or the couple might bring gifts for the family. In return, the groom’s extended relatives may offer some small tokens to the bride to welcome her into the family.
When visiting the bride’s family on day three, the couple must bring a series of gifts and food. These traditionally include a roasted pig and many gifts for the family members. After this visit, the bride’s family sends return gifts to the groom’s family out of respect. These will consist of the head, tail, feet and half of the original roast pig, symbolizing a beginning and end. They should also send a bottle of liquor, a cake, fruit and vegetables, a green onion (the Chinese word sounds like ‘plentiful’) and a bamboo stick to symbolize rising step by step. They will also sometimes send a baby chicken in a lantern box.