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The Red Veil in Chinese Weddings

Sep. 15, 2011

Key Learning Points (Preview):

新娘 (xīnniáng) n. bride

 

害羞 (hàixiū) adj. shy

 

In a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, the "新娘 (xīnniáng) bride" will wear a red veil made of silk, the color red represents happiness in China. The "新郎 (xīnláng) groom" removes this mysterious red veil in the bridal chamber. In China, there is a folktale about why the bride wears a red veil during the wedding ceremony.

Long long ago, there were just two people in the universe; they were "女娲 (Nǚwā) the Goddess who created humanity" and her elder brother. In order to multiply, they decided to get married. However , they were both very "害羞 (hàixiū) shy." In order to cover her shyness, "女娲 (Nǚwā)" made a fan of grass, and then used the "扇子 (shànzi) fan" to cover her face. This became a custom followed by the people.  As time went on, people found that silk veils were much more "柔软 (róuruǎn) soft," and "方便 (fāngbiàn) convenient" than fans. So they began to make beautiful veils of red silk, which gradually replaced the fans.

The red veil in ancient times was used to cover the bride’s shyness. Typically, brides and grooms did not meet before the wedding ceremony. It would be on the day of their marriage, when the groom removes the red veil in the "洞房 (dòngfáng) bridal chamber" that the couple would meet for the first time.

In modern China, the red veil is not a necessity at a wedding ceremony, but many young people still "选择 (xuǎnzé) choose" to hold a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony. They use the red veil not only for fun, but also because they want to have a special keepsake of their marriage day. When the groom removes the red veil, it also symbolizes that the couple has made a "勇敢的 (yǒnggǎn de) brave" vow that they will cherish and take care of each other for the rest of their lives.

Key Learning Points:

新娘 (xīnniáng) n. bride

 

"新娘 (xīnniáng)" is the Chinese word for "bride," "新郎 (xīnláng)" is the Chinese word for "groom."

Example:

    Kàn, Xīnniáng lái le.
Lisa: 看,新娘       来 了。

 

   Look, the bride is coming!

    Hǎo piàoliang ā.
Anne: 好 漂亮      啊。

 

    She is so beautiful.

害羞 (hàixiū) adj. shy

 

Example:

Zhège nǚhái hěn hàixiū, yi shuōhuà liǎn jiù hóng le.
这个     女孩 很     害羞,一 说话      脸   就    红 了。

 

The girl is so shy that she blushes when speaking.

Vocabulary:

扇子 (shànzi) n. fan

 

方便 (fāngbiàn) adj. convenient

 

洞房 (dòngfáng) n. bridal chamber

 

 

You may be interested in more Chinese customs and cultures:

Chinese Culture Series: Hongbao – Lucky Money

Chinese Culture Series: Zou qinqi – Visit Relatives

Why Does “Wearing Red” Bring Good Luck in a Zodiac Year (Ben Ming Nian)?

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Comments

I have been reading out a few of your articles and i can claim pretty nice stuff. I will surely bookmark your website.

You’ve got it in one. Couldn’t have put it beettr.

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