Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Traditional Peranakan Wedding - WW

I witnessed a live demonstration of a traditional Peranakan Wedding procession held recently at the opening of our Peranakan Museum.

A traditional Peranakan wedding is an elaborate 12-day affair filled with rituals and ceremonies until the bride left her parents' house and moved in with her in-laws.

The bride has to walk sideways..




View a traditional Peranakan Wedding on video.

Bed where 7 babies were born

This wedding bed was donated by Mrs Quah Hong Chiam to Peranakan Museum. It was her wedding trousseau. It is ornately carved, lavishly decorated with beadwork and embroidery featuring motifs of birds, flowers, animals, insects and sea creatures. These were fertility symbols associated with the Peranakan Chinese wedding. Wedding beds were some of the largest pieces of furniture to be found in the homes of Peranakan families.

What's interesting about it is that Mrs Quah gave birth to 7 out of her 11 children
on this bed. The Quah family was from Penang, but relocated to Singapore. Despite the long journey, Mrs Quah would go back to Penang to give birth on this bed.

3 or 4 days before the wedding, a young child, preferably a boy, would roll three times across the wedding bed. The boy would come from a family who has many sons, to get his male energy. :)

Four galleries at Peranakan Museum are devoted to the story of the traditional 12-day Peranakan wedding where significant ceremonies like the lap chai, (exchange of gifts) and chiu thau (coming of age, which was the most important rite) are presented.






53 comments:

  1. Wow... that's some bedtime ritual for off springs! Totally fascinating what? Yeah... but I still prefer IKEA beds..

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  2. OMG! Is it Wednesday already? I must stop doing work and go to sleep NOW!

    That was a great post! I've always wondered about peranakan weddings since my peranakan friends in uni knew zilch about them. Aah... the diversity of cultures and traditions is what makes us so unique, no?

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  3. LB,
    We Chinese have such a ritual too. At your wedding, I'll get my first grandson to do it for you. hahaha.....

    I prefer a water bed. hehe....

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  4. wow! what a ritual? my WW entry is up too... hope to see you around...

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  5. dieselfire!!
    Yes, it's Wednesday! Time seems to fly these days......

    Yes, every one of us is unique ....

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  6. interesting story about that bed ... so lavishly decorated!

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  7. Hi ECL! That is some wedding. The YouTube reveals it is in English. Was this wedding performed for tourists?

    We didn't catch any of our shrimp, they were all purchased at the grocery store (H.E.B.).
    I am sure they were imported from China or Malaysia as our local fishery industry has all but shut down due to the foreign competition,
    Perhaps with the collapse of the American Dollar our home industries like can be restarted! If we just didn't need foreighn petroleum to operate them, that is!

    Happy WW/WT!
    ..

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  8. What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing ECL

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  9. ECL, got you something. Come over & see. http://janiceng.blogspot.com/2008/05/happy-mothers-day.html

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  10. very interesting specially about the bed.

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  11. What a stunning event! I can't imagine walking sideways. It's all I can do to get the shoes on right and get down the road in a straight line.

    Thanks for sharing this story about this culture.

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  12. How very interesting! Different traditions all have so much to teach us! My WW is very suspenseful;)

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  13. Good mornin' ECL!Wow you have 17 comments already? So early ah...LOL.

    I love the colors and drama of it all.I've seen a similar bed in Malacca
    but we toursits are not allowed to make picture;) Pity!

    This weekend is really gonna be a peranakan weekend...we'll visit the museum and the other place u've mentioned recently;)

    European Edition 1

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  14. Make sure get a small boy to jump up and down and roll all over the matrimony bed of Jaymes before his big day!! :P Confirm you'll 子孙满堂 :)

    Thanks for your birthday wishes :)

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  15. 12days???? wow! it should be that intimate!

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  16. Wow, that is so cool. I love the colors!! Happy WW and thanks for stopping by:)

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  17. Owww... I love the costumes! I love something traditional indeed...

    and I also just realize that today is wednesday! LOL

    btw, I have some 'love' for you here at http://atributetomymom.blogspot.com/

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  18. That's a very interesting post, complete with interesting pictures :) Thanks for the writeup :)

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  19. how come have to walk sideways - like crab leh!

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  20. Hi ECL, very interesting. Especially about the walking sideways, why is that la? :)

    PS. Vote vote vote, good luck dear! ;)

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  21. Hmm.. interesting!!!

    yet another enriching lesson and knowledge learn in ECL blog!!

    haha!

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  22. Wowee 12 day ritual??!!! I was tired just after one day for my own wedding....

    Good sharing ECL! Thanks :)

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  23. The story about this bed is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this!

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  24. Wow! That is a lovely pic! It is so nice to learn about other customs, and traditions. Happy WW

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  25. That is so neat, The shots are beautiful. I never knew any of this and it is great to have read.

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  26. The Peranakan Museum is worth a visit. I was there three times already. Do check out the multi-media stations. There are videos recordings of the chiu thau ceremony, and even the couple's first wedding meal together.

    The wedding bed....I think it was the same wedding bed that I saw many years ago at the previous Singapore History Gallery (where the National Museum of Singapore now stands).

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  27. Very interesting, ECL. It's amazing how important a wedding is for some cultures.
    But it isn't fair that they send a little boy to roll across the wedding bed...I am the oldest in my family, I would have been a "reject" in a different culture than mine :)

    Happy WW, almost forgot it is supposed to be wordless, he he!

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  28. so interesting! a wedding that's a 12-day affair? wow ...

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  29. Hi. You have been tagged. Drop by when you have the chance to see what it is about.

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  30. Very interesting ! I suppose that these weddings are far too expensive to be celebrated in their original way. I have read a lot of chinese traditions and also all books of Pearl S. Buck. I have seen such an enormous bed here in an exposition.

    I go on a roundtrip through Greece to visit all important historical places so it's not really holidays. But I keep my Blogs running, thanks to Blogger's new invention, the scheduled posts !

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  31. Just fantastic. Thank you so much for showing your rituals to us. Such an interesting culture, I'd love to go there one day!

    Here is my WW post for today.

    Have a great WW day!

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  32. Such beautiful colors and outfits! Why does the bride have to walk sideways?

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  33. Wow, that is some ritual! I don't want any boys from a family of many sons to come anywhere near my bed!

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  34. Ohmigosh... I couldn't stand the thoughts of getting ready for a single day, let alone a 12 day ceremony! WOW!

    Thanks for the story behind it! I enjoy learning about other cultures.

    Thanks also for stopping by!

    Have a terrific Wednesday!

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  35. I think my first comment didn't go thru - but sorry if this is a dupe.

    Such interesting traditions and beautiful clothing! Thanks for another cultural lesson. :)

    Speaking of traditions, my WW post is up too, if you'd like to stop by.

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  36. I learn something interesting from you every Wednesday. Nice photos.

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  37. That is just such a beautiful wedding!!

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  38. Wow, this is really interesting love the costume & the details you intail it. The bed is a treasure. Happy WW.

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  39. ECL,
    I never knew the bride must walk sideways; must be difficult to do.

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  40. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.

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  41. Great shots! I spent some time looking closely at the people. Sideways huh? Is the bed only used then?

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  42. This is lovely. I like the bed with all the beautiful and ornate patterns. Priceless.

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  43. The pictures are so full of color and the patterns on the fabric and the wood work on the bed all such fantastic pics .

    The rituals made it such an interesting read too.

    I missed visiting the Peranakan museum when in Singapore . Hope to catch it on my next trip.

    Thanks for sharing .

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  44. nice:) i'm doing a research project now.

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