As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

A Peek Into Chinese Peranakan Life in Penang 2: Marriage & Children

Today we look into certain articles at the Peranakan Mansion that give us a glimpse of the marriage customs of the Peranakans.
 An example of a typical dowry from the groom to the bride.
Photo of a Peranakan couple on their wedding day. 
Chinese Peranakan marriages were all ‘arranged’. That means these two have just met.
The wedding bed. 
Look at the elaborate decorations, but I’m really more interested in what’s under the bed. Scroll down to read the story…
What was this basket for? 
and what was it doing under the wedding bed?
On the wedding night, a rooster and a hen would be placed in this basket under the wedding bed. The assumption was that the couple will consummate the marriage that very night. The following morning, the mothers of the newlyweds would come into the room to let the chickens out of the basket. The first one that emerged from under the bed determined the gender of the couple’s first born. According to our guide it’s up to 90% accurate. So what if the rooster and hen emerged at the same time? You figure it out.
When two become one and then two again…
Yes, switching back and forth was possible with the Peranakan couple’s two single beds. Apparently, the gap will be the husband’s indicator whether his wife is angry at him or happy with him.
Gold and Marriage – yes, in Peranakan culture they went together like a horse and carriage, hahahah
People gauged how wealthy a Peranakan man was by how much gold his wife was wearing (and how many wives and children he has and how many households he supports)… Yes, it was common practice for wealthy Peranakans to have several wives. But only the first wife lived in the man’s residence. From our guide I learned that the first wife was also the only one who could visit the other wives’ homes unannounced. The rest of the women had to send her a letter to ask for permission to visit the ‘main’ house. However, in the case of the children from all the wives, they were free to go in and out of all the households.
Learn more about Peranakan Weddings:
The Baba Nyonya Wedding Introduction on City Turtle
Peranakan Wedding Ceremony on Peranakan Life

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This entry was posted on March 18, 2014 by in Explore and tagged , .
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