4th Special Exhibition Hall - Continuous Blessing – Traditional Hakka Wedding Exhibition
Exhibition Date: July 27, 2018 to December 31, 2019
Venue: 4th Special Exhibition Hall, Taiwan Hakka Museum
How does the Hakka ethnic group manage a wedding?
In the wedding ceremony, the Hakka ancestors conveyed the prayers and blessings to the universe, ancestors, families and individuals, and combined with the Hakka spirit of appreciating the water source while drinking water. The wedding ceremony was passed down up to today and have become "Traditional Taiwan Hakka Wedding Culture". However, with the change of times, the younger generation is getting less familiar with the process and meaning of traditional etiquette, which even has a crisis of cultural discontinuity.
To respond to the crisis, this exhibition hopes to guide the audience to understand the traditional Taiwan Hakka marriage customs with interesting story situation and the transformation of roles. and at the same time, it also presents other marriage customs and cultures such as of the aboriginal people, new residents or southern Fujian ethnic groups so that it can present Taiwanese multiculturalism. Through the interaction with the content of this exhibition, we can pass down the precious traditional wedding customs.
Unit 1 Introduction:
The ear rings were jingling
Like whispering the feeling of getting married
Golden rings contained traditional love and affection
The bracelets on my left and right wrists
Gave me a bunch of blessings
Father instructed me the three rules of obedience and the four virtues as a wife
Aunt reminded me
That I should never forget the sayings of our ancestors
Although I was covered with a face veil
I could still understand
All the long lists of etiquette
Serious horn rang off behind the bridal car
I would cherish the splashed bowl of water
As the paper fan fell to the ground gently
Grandma picked it up to fan herself cool
She murmured the four-character couplet:
Wife and husband take care each other and have babies as early as possible
(Refer from Get Married/Li Yu Fang)
Let’s know traditional Hakka wedding customs
"Marriage" is a family event which is inherited from the past and will be passed down in the future. The traditional Hakka wedding customs are based on the ancient six rituals, although some etiquettes have changed with the development of society, still many ceremonies such as respecting the ancestors, showing gratitude, and giving blessings continue with the Hakka culture till today. Before the wedding, we can see some etiquettes based on the Hakka spirit of appreciating the water source while drinking water such as "Giving bride’s maternal grandmother pork as gift" and "Worshipping the maternal ancestors ". We can also learn the parents’ reluctance to leave their daughter from some processes when bride is enjoying a feast with her family and saying goodbye to them. Even after the wedding, the bridegroom will accompany the bride back to her family and gives the bridegroom one more opportunity to share feelings with her family.
Through these rituals, relatives and friends can pass on the blessings and reminders to the newlyweds and wish they would live happily in the future. Moreover, the newlyweds can also express their gratitude to their parents through these rituals. Although some have been simplified or merged, we can still feel how important the Hakka ethnic group values the marriage customs.
Unit 2 Introduction:
Different Wedding Customs in the southern and in the northern Hakka groups
The wedding customs of the Hakka family are complex and grand. For the different living habits in the north and south, they also add respectively many local characteristics to the preparation of gifts and ceremonies.
According to the historic document, for the southern Hakkas of the late 1940s, the groom would not participate in the engagement ceremony but was handled by the matchmakers. In addition, seeing from the gift-giving custom before the wedding, the Hakkas in the north would send "a bottle of wine and a chicken" to the bride’s side. But in the south, they would “give bride’s maternal grandmother pork” as gift. Although the gifts are different in the two places, the gratitude they express through giving gifts is equally precious.
These differences in marriage customs, which are extended in response to respectively local lifestyles, also leave more special memories for Hakka traditional marriage customs. In some Hakka villages like Hukou, Zhudong, Dahu, Zhunan, Sanyi, Zhongliao, Neipu and other places, there are farmers figting against these customs.
Unit 3 Introduction:
There are various of multi-ethnic culture in Taiwan, and all kinds of ethnic groups enrich the cultural development of Taiwanese society. Have you ever seen the aboriginal Atayal groom carrying the bride to the wedding venue? In addition, with the increase of the population of marriage immigrants from the southeast Asia, does the marriage customs of various countries arouse your curiosity, too? Vietnamese couples will be married while carrying betel nuts that symbolize loyalty; Nearly 20 gifts such as plantains and coconuts will be prepared in the Thai traditional weddings; and in Indonesia’s Javanese wedding, the bridegroom will break the eggs with bare feet, which symbolizes the bride’s forever love until death.
Due to different ethnic groups, there are more forms of wedding rituals in Taiwan, with which add more spectacular elements to Taiwan's wedding culture.
Unit 4 Introduction:
Ballads and blessings in the Hakka wedding
Among the ballads that Hakka have passed on, many are about the introduction of festivals, adoration of wedding or blessings and anticipation for the newlyweds. We can not only learn the procedures of the wedding rituals but also the marriage culture of this area from the lyrics of these ballads.
Bride is happy in the wedding and so is the groom;
Lovely couple has babies earlier and have a fortune and long life.
Speaking "Four-sentence Couplet" is often heard in weddings, which is an important role in supporting ceremonies. According to the progress of different processes, the matchmakers will recite some auspicious words, which not only promote the lively festive atmosphere, but also convey the meaning of congratulation for the newlyweds.
Unit 5 Introduction:
With the change of times, Hakka wedding ceremonies have also been gradually simplified from the old marriage customs such as Six Rituals. The traditional rituals, artefacts, taboos, etc. have also been "changed according to the time"; however, the cultural meaning, and ancestors' accumulated wisdom existing traditional Hakka wedding customs are still preserved through the inheritance of rituals.