The cultural beauty of traditional Vietnamese wedding etiquettes
There are three ceremonies in a traditional Vietnamese wedding. Two of them are requirements and one is optional. It means the local people can skip one ceremony and do two others is still fine. Moreover, when two families choose the day for these three ceremonies, they have to pick a “good day” to hold. A “good day” in Vietnamese tradition follows the lunar calendar. Furthermore, it must be the day that does not against the lunar year of birth of bride and bridegroom.
A pre-engagement ceremony is the first official meeting of two families. In the traditional Vietnamese wedding meaning, this is the date when two families admit the relationship of the couple.
The pre-engagement ceremony is usually held in a simple and closed atmosphere. Two families talk closely so that they can understand each other more and build a good relationship. As a result, their daughter and son can feel free to live together with one of the two families. Due to this simpleness, it does not need to prepare complex pre-engagement presents. In this ceremony, the present is just betel leaves and areca nuts. Sometimes, there also are candies and cakes. The most important thing is that all of these presents must be in an even number.
In the traditional Vietnamese wedding, this is the event when two families announce their relationship. The bride’s family has a new son-in-law. And similarly, the bride becomes daughter-in-law of the bridegroom’s family.
Due to its important meaning, there are some etiquettes in the engagement presents. Bridegroom’s family is the one who prepares for all the presents. Those presents are put into the wedding presents trays. As the tradition, the number of trays must be an odd number meanwhile number of objects inside the tray must be an even number. List of presents must have in engagement presents are betel leaves and areca nuts, bánh su sê (a type of cake made from flour and green beans), tea, wine, cigarette, sticky rice and grilled head of a pig. It presents for the thankfulness of bridegroom’s family to the bride’s who gives them a daughter-in-law.
Additionally, the bridegroom’s family must prepare three envelopes of money. One is for the bride mother’s family, one is for bride father family. The left one is for burning incense on the ancestor in the bride’s family. The amount of money depends on the bride’s family requirement.
This ceremony is held in the bride’s family. They invite only relatives of two families joining in. At the end of the etiquette, bride and bridegroom invite their parents with tea as the way they show their thankfulness. After the ceremony, the bride’s family give the bridegroom’s family back one out of three of the presents as the way to reciprocate the bridegroom’s family.
This is the most important event of the traditional Vietnamese wedding etiquettes. If the engagement ceremony is the official announcement to relatives, this event is the official announcement to all of two families’ friends about the wedding. Therefore, the local people always put their most effort to make a wedding ceremony as perfect as possible.
Besides choosing a “good day” to hold the wedding ceremony, two families also have to choose a “good hour” to start the ceremony. It would be the best hour of that day follows the lunar calendar.
A traditional Vietnamese wedding must follow these following etiquettes:
The pre-bridal procession
Before the “good hour” for bride procession, bridegroom’s mother and another relative in his family come to the bride’s house to ask for the bride procession permission. They bring trays of betel leaves and areca nuts with wine. One more purpose of this etiquette is to announce the time bridegroom will come.
The bridal procession
In the “best hour” of the wedding day, bridegroom goes with his father and relatives to the bride’s house for the bridal procession. They go by wedding cars which are normal cars with wedding decoration. Usually, the decoration is the bouquet of red flowers and the manifest of wedding stickers. Normally, the bridegroom’s mother does not go with him. She goes to the bride’s house first to ask for the bride procession permission.
During the time of bride procession, two families introduce each other. The bridegroom’s family gives the bride’s family the trays which groom’s mother brought to the bride’s house. The bride is not allowed to appear until the groom come to take her out. After all, the bridegroom’s family asks the bride’s family to take her to her husband house. Until the bride’s family agrees, they cannot go with the bride. From this moment on, the bride becomes a member of the groom’s family.
Day to coming back bride home
In a traditional Vietnamese wedding, after a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom must come back to the bride’s home. It is a way to show newlywed’s thankfulness to the bride’s parents. Furthermore, this coming back is also a way that the groom’s family shows their respect to the bride’s family. However, it depends on the distance between two families, the time to come back from the wedding day maybe longer.
Even though these traditional Vietnamese wedding etiquettes has lasted for thousands of years, it still remains until today. In the past, Vietnamese wedding was arranged by parents. Hence, the wedding ceremony is a chance for parents to show their network power. By the time, it becomes a tradition of the local even there is not many arranged marriage today.