Dating and marriage rituals in china
As a matter of fact, the marriageable boy and girl were supposed to obey the dictates of their parents and follow the advice of the matchmaker on the arranged marriage pattern.
Having never seen each other before their wedding day, this resulted in numerous unequal and loveless marriages.
Selecting a Wedding Date The boy's parents selected a wedding date through the art of divination and solicited agreement of the girl's parents.
If both parties didn't object to the date, the girl's party would deliver the bride's dowry to the bridegroom's house at least one day before the wedding ceremony.
According to Confucianism, a marriage is the beginning of ethics and a wedding ceremony is the essence of etiquettes, which has a substantial influence on social stability, and only those marriages with formal wedding ceremonies are recognized by society.
The basic principles of an ancient marriage mainly involved the matched social status, the dictates of the parents and the advice of the matchmaker, the ban of the marriage for a couple with the same surname and the tolerance toward polygamy.
Matching Birthdates: if the proposal went well, the matchmaker would inquire about the four pillars of birth time (referring to the year, month, day and hour of birth respectively, known as Bazi in Chinese astrology) of the couple-to-be and submitted it to a fortune-teller to predict their future.
As a transitional stage from the exogamous marriage stage to the monogamous marriage stage, the antithetic marriage (or paired marriage) was an unstable marriage between men and women during the late Neolithic Age, which was very different from modern monogamy and easily dissolved; and it retained some vestiges of group marriage with tolerance toward a husband's or wife's extramarital relationships.
As the second marriage taboo in Chinese history, exogamous marriage emerged in the middle and late Neolithic Age, which strictly banned the marriage between blood brothers and sisters, and it only allowed marriage among different social groups.
In the exogamous marriage stage, it was very common for the brothers of the same family to marry a wife from the other group, and she would be the wife of all the brothers in the family, and vice versa.
As the first marriage taboo in Chinese history, consanguineous marriage emerged during the middle Neolithic Age, which banned a parent-offspring marriage but allowed the marriage of people of the same generation (such as the brother and sister of a family).
The representative consanguineous marriage was between Fu Xi (one of the Three August Ones and the Five Lords) and Nv Wa, who were blood brother and sister.