Traditional Chinese Weddings – SETTING UP THE BRIDAL BED (安床 An Chuang)
An auspicious date and time is chosen to install the Bridal Bed because it symbolises a long lasting relationship and also many offsprings for the couple.
Traditionally, the Chinese bridal bed sheets were red or pink with Dragon and Phoenix embroidery in Gold threads or with flowers (Peony or Magnolias).
It is usually set up a week or a few days before the Customary Wedding, and once it is set up, nobody (especially the Bride) should lie on the Bridal Bed, as it is believed that this would lead to her poor health.
The Groom however, could sleep on the installed bed before the wedding, if he is accompanied by a young healthy boy.
A man who is considered to have a good fortune all his life will be hired to move the Bridal Bed to the right place.
While laying the bed, the relative can say good words and well wishes that symbolises a long lasting marriage, and blessings with many offsprings.
A Red coloured plate will also be left on the bed, with the following items:
- Two Red Packets with even numbers of cash inside (for Good Fortune)
- Even number of oranges – two to Eight (for Good Fortune 大吉大利)
- Dried Longans (symbolises blessings for a Dragon Boy 早生贵子)
- Dried Persimmons (symbolises a sweet Marriage 甜甜蜜蜜)
- some Red Dates (symbolises blessings for Good Fortune 鸿运当头)
- Candies / Sweets (symbolises a sweet Marriage 甜甜蜜蜜)
- some Dried Lotus Seeds (symbolises blessings with many children 连连生子)
- some Dried Magnolia petals (symbolises many years of marriage harmony 百年好合)
- some Pomegranate Leaves (to ward off evil)
Next would be lighting up a pair of Red bedside lamps, which symbolises adding sons to the family. Lamp in Chinese is “灯“ (Deng), which sounds like “丁” (Ding), which symbolises adding sons (添丁 Tian Ding) to the Family. To the traditional Chinese, having a son is important, to carry on the Family Name and/or Family Business. The lamps should not be turned off until the Wedding night.
On the Wedding Day, or immediately after installing the Bridal Bed, little healthy children are asked to roll on the bed (压床 Ya Chuang), to bless the couple with fertility. Red packets are also given to the Good Fortune woman, the children and all who are involved in setting up the bed, to bless them with good fortune in return.
There is also a traditional practice where rice grains or beans were scattered, and pair of Rooster and Hen were released under the Bridal Bed. It was believed that the family could expect a male first-born if the Rooster emerged first!
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