Heaven and earth shall witness your marriage.
The three prayers of the traditional chinese wedding ceremony contained elements of Taoism.
The chinese were mainly Taoists or ancestor worshipers before foreign religions such as Christianity, Muslim or Buddhism entered ancient China.
Taoists believed in the power of heaven and earth to witness important events on earth. It was also believed that a parent or family elder must acknowledge a union for it to be official.
An official at the wedding would direct the bride and groom to pray to heaven and earth first, then to the groom parents or family elders and lastly to bow to each other.
The official would then declared the ceremony completed successfully and asked the wedding guests to escort the couple into the bridal chamber, the equivalent of the bridal room, to consummate their marriage.
What about modern chinese wedding ceremony?
Modern chinese wedding usually skip the ancient ritual of the three prayers.
The bride and groom will enter the bridal room directly after entering the groom’s home. After the family members have returned to the family hall, the couple will join them.
If the bride and groom are ancestors worshipers, they will pray to the groom’s ancestors and family gods at this time.
This will be followed by the tea ceremony when most of the relatives are present.
Otherwise, if time permits, the bridal party may go for outdoor photography session or visit the wedding couple’s new home before the tea ceremony.
Click here to check out a sample chinese wedding day program.
Without the traditional three prayers, the tea ceremony is the most significant event in the modern chinese wedding ceremony.