The hair combing ceremony is one of the traditional chinese wedding ritual that is still widely performed. However, practice differs for this simple ceremony.
Some believe that both the bride and groom must carry out the hair combing ceremony for it to be meaningful. Others believe it does not matter.
Some believe that if the parents did not carry out the ceremony at their wedding then the children should not do so.
To comb or not to comb?
The bride and groom should check with both set of parents on the details and come to an agreement to avoid any unhappiness.
So how do you comb?
The night before the wedding, the bride and groom at their respective homes will bathe or shower with water infused with some pamelo or pomegranate leaves. The chinese believe that these leaves will ward off evil.
Each will then put on a set of new clothing and shoes. Pajamas and bedroom slippers are acceptable. Each family will find a good fortune woman to conduct the ceremony.
A good fortune woman is one who is married with surviving husband, children and grandchildren. Mums of bride and groom may carry out the ceremony if they are good fortune women. Otherwise find relatives or friends who are.
The bride and groom will sit in front of an open window with the moon visible or in front of a mirror. Candles and incense may be lit for those who are ancestor worshiper or Taoist.
Some practice combing the hair three times and some four. The good fortune woman will bless aloud as she combs the hair. The four blessings are:
一梳梳到尾 Yi Shu Shu Dao Wei，
First combing, continuous from beginning till end, may you be together all your lives.
二梳百年好合 Er Shu Bai Nian Hao He，
Second combing, may you have closeness and harmony in your marriage for a hundred years, till a ripe old age.
三梳子孙满堂 San Shu Zi Sun Man Tang，
Third combing, may you fill your home with children and grandchildren.
四梳白发齐眉 Si Shu Bai Fa Qi Mei。
Fourth combing, may you enjoy a long life together, till your hair and even eyebrows are white.
A sweet soup containing pink and white rice ball will be served to the bride and groom after the hair combing ceremony. The round rice balls symbolize a complete and sweet marriage.
At the end of this ceremony, the bride's mum will give her with a treasure box filled with some jewellery and token red packets. This is a farewell gift to a treasured daughter who is leaving her childhood home. The chinese believe that a person only becomes an adult after marriage.
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