Enough about the rings!

31 Jul

So, I’ve been yapping on about the rings for way too long. It’s becoming sorta repetitive. I promise I’ll finish the saga soon, but for the meantime, let’s talk ceremony.

After a recent trip attempting (and maybe succeeding?) to get my rings resized (I know I said I wouldn’t talk about them, but there’s a link!), my ma and I decided that it was high time we grab fresh juice and get some dinner for tonight. I was feeling downtrodden and wanted to sulk in the car, but my ma told me that there was a shop which sold nice-looking, authentic tea sets for a relatively good price. She knew I wanted one for the tea ceremony that would be conducted at GP and my wedding (more on that later). So, dragging myself out of the car, I made my way with her to the shop and entered.

It was a little shop – so little, I had to hold my bag to my chest because I didn’t want to accidentally knock anything over. With bare white walls and a lack of shelves, the shop was littered with customary Chinese statues, scrolls and other knickknacks. There were pai shu (Chinese ‘dogs’ which serve to bring good luck), statues of good luck animals (the horse and koi), and even the Chinese good luck cabbage. In a heap, piled on top of each other, were tea sets of all different shapes and sizes. When we perused through them, we found a pamphlet with traditional clay teapots.

“Do you have this?” asked my mum.

“None left,” came the disheartening reply.

Balls.

Well, I thought, the ceramic ones were pretty and colourful. Not very traditional, but still very pretty! Maybe a blue one? No, didn’t match the theme I was going for. Black looked nice. Too plain though, and the cups were huge. There was a white one, but it was pricier. How about the red? It was red and gold, pretty patterns, cups weren’t too big. And the icing on the cake?

They were $30.00.

Do you know what the cherry on top of the icing was?

My mum managed to get them for $25.00.

Chinese tea set? CHECK and MATE.

Now what is the Chinese tea set for, I hear you asking. Well, let me explain.

As a Chinese girl, tradition has long been connected to how I’ve grown up. I’m Buddhist, and though I’m not a huge practitioner of my faith, I still believe in the gods and pray during special occasions. I believe in most of the customs and beliefs that are attached to my religion and culture. For example, I believe in karma, I believe that there is a place on the other side once a person passes, and I believe that to get good things in life, you must treat others with a similar respect and kindness. However, I am not a vegetarian, and I don’t necessarily wish to be so.

My parents are a lot more superstitious than I am, but I want to make them happy while I plan my wedding, and so I’m allowing them to choose the date of the wedding based on the Chinese calender, GP’s birthday and my own. From these, the Chinese soothsayer (or ‘oracle’, as my friend calls them) will be able to choose a date which is ‘auspicious’ – in other words, one that promises a good future. GP, an atheist, is a little bit iffy on the whole belief system, but he knows this will make me (and his in-laws) happy, so he’s being good about it. The date alone has been an uphill struggle for GP and I, but that’s another story for another time.

Another part of my culture is the “Chinese tea ceremony”.

The Chinese tea ceremony, for those who don’t know, is a lot like the traditional ceremony in the more ‘western’ parts. It’s basically a joining of two people and their families. However, instead of a celebrant/officiant/priest ‘making it official’ with vows (or prayers), the soon-to-be husband and wife kneel before their elders and serve them tea, respecting those who came before. As with the traditional wedding ceremony, there are particular things that need to happen during the Chinese tea ceremony. You can read all about it here:http://www.chinese-wedding-guide.com/tea-ceremony.html.

I want to incorporate the Chinese tea ceremony into my wedding as I believe it’s a beautiful tradition. You pay your respects to your elders, you get to drink warm hot green tea, and you get gifts at the very end (hey, I’m a modern girl!). I also get to wear a beautiful cheongsam, the traditional Chinese dress. Some brides choose to wear the white wedding dress, but I want to feel connected to my culture. GP has decided that he wants to wear the silk brocade jacket he bought in China when we were over there.

I’m excited to have this as a part of my wedding. And even more excited that I now have a beautiful tea set for it!

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