Thursday, December 23, 2010

Taiwanese Engagement Ceremony: Part 2

A go-between carrying the bazi of the couple

The First Proposal
When the groom’s parents identified a likely bride-to-be, they would first appoint a go-between, who acts as a buffer between the two families - a role similar to that of a real estate agent today. Considering the amount of money invested in this event by the two families, the go-between who plays the broker, agent, event planner, and other serious responsibilities. The groom’s family would first send the go-between, often an elderly well respected woman (not born in the year of the tiger), to present gifts to the bride’s parents and to sound out their feelings about the match.  If the proposal was well-received, the go-between would obtain the bride’s Bazi, a formal document made by an astrological expert using the date and hours of the bride’s birth and the birthdays of her parents.

Ancestral alter
The groom’s family would place this document on the ancestral alter for three days to a week. If no inauspicious omens, such as quarrels between the parents or a loss of property, took place within that time, the parents would give this document along with their son’s bazi to another astrological expert to confirm that the two are a good match. If the expert deems ‘horoscope’ to be favorable, the parents will give the son’s bazi to the go-between to give to the bride’s family, who would go through the same process.

Only after both outcomes were favorable, would the two families arrange to meet. The date and time of the meeting and when important rituals would be performed are very crucial. Again, an astrological expert would be consulted on the most auspicious date and time. For more traditional families, a fengshui expert would also be consulted regarding the seating location, direction and arrangement.

Note 1: In the past, if the astrological expert deemed the bazi to be unfavourable, the engagement would be cancelled and no marriage would happen.  Nowadays, people no longer believe in the superstition and simply bring the bazi to different astrological experts until one gives a flavourable (desirable) outcome.

Note 2: You are not suppose to take photos or video of the ancestral alter.

More on preparation on the next post

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