Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Five Days Before the Wedding Day in Malaysia: Doing the Chinese Rituals

I just had my wedding ceremony and reception in Malaysia on last Sunday but since I was super busy last week, I can only write some of the preparations that I did before the D-Day today. This post is a flashback post.

Moving backward, five days before our wedding day in Malaysia last week, as advised by the "Smart Person" in the temple who chose our wedding date more than a year ago, my husband and I had to do some Chinese (Taoist) worshiping rituals. My husband and I had to pray to Gods and his deceased ancestors to 'announce' that we both were going to get married and ask for blessings.

Getting ready to worship.

The specific date for us to do the worship rituals before the Chinese wedding ceremony.

I am a Christian but was bound to do these Taoist worshiping rituals with my husband too in order to pay respect to Gods and his ancestors. One thing here, I didn't use any joss sticks during the prayers. I was just physically there to observe and accompany my husband and his parents doing the worshiping rituals (though I didn't do much in preparing since I do not practice all this anymore).

Since my husband's ancestors' spirit tablets and worship shrines are placed in his paternal Grandma's house in Muar, last week we had to drive all the way to Muar to do the worship rituals before the wedding.

After we have set up all the stuff like the red candles, joss sticks, Chinese tea and other offerings, we then started the worship rituals.

 Preparing all the stuff needed for the worship rituals.

My husband's parents did all the prayers (拜拜) to the Gods and ancestors first.

Dad-in-Law did the worshiping first.

Only then, my husband and I did the worship rituals together, albeit most of the time, it was my husband who did it. I just all the way folded my hands in front like doing "gong xi, gong xi" whilst my husband was praying with the joss sticks.

For the bride and groom, the first thing that we needed to do during the ritual was to worship the Heaven and Earth. Taoists believe in the power of heaven and earth to witness important events on earth. Based on the Chinese calendar, on that particular day, we were supposed to pray the Heaven and Earth by facing the West direction.

 Praying to Heaven and Earth. 
We didn't do this in a jungle: Nobody lives in my husband's Grandma's house in Muar anymore 
so the front yard is kind of abandoned.

 Placing the joss sticks in the shrine for Gods of Heaven and Earth.

Then, the second thing to do was worshiping the Gods and ancestors.

Ready to pray to the Gods and the deceased ancestors.

Praying to the Gods.

 Praying to the deceased ancestors.

The last ritual to do here was burning the joss papers, a common Chinese traditional religious practice to the Gods and deceased ancestors on special occasions.

Burning the Spirit Money for the deceased ancestors.

Preparing other joss papers as burnt offerings for the Gods.

Burning the joss papers to the Gods.

After we were done with all the worship rituals, we all had to wait until all the lit joss sticks and candles to be burnt completely before we could wrap the worship rituals up and go home.

Frankly, initially I objected in participating in all the Taoist worship rituals for my wedding because I am already a Christian convert and we did not do any Church wedding either. Only after my Dad ensured me that I better do it just for the sake of being a Chinese, not a Taoist or Buddhist and there was no pressure for me to hold any joss sticks during the prayers, I finally agreed to do this.

That's all for now.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your marriage and your prayers. No matter whether you're of any religion, it's important to first be faithful to yr own religion and be able to respect others, even in joining their ceremony. it does not make you any weaker because yr faith is inside you, unshakable and devoted. so even if you hold joss sticks, it doesnt make you sin; even if you prayed with heart. in fact, you did a good deed bcos you did it for your hubby; and in chinese filial piety,and I'm sure in God's view, being faithful to yr hubby is equally noble. All the Best to you and yr hubby.
    Michael

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