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Traditional Chinese wedding celebrations Lifting the bridal veil

Lifting up the bridal veil (红盖头hón? ?ài tóu), also called “lifting up the red scarf” meant that the bridegroom would lift the bridal veil (usually a piece of red scarf used to cover the bride’s face) with the arm of a steelyard. It was not until then the veiled bride showed her true appearance to the curious bridegroom and his family.

On the other hand, it was at this time that the anxious bride saw her husband for the 1st time. The ancient saying that the couple begin to know each other in the bridal chamber is just a description of the moment of lifting up the bridal veil. And of course their feelings towards each other, either contentment or frustration, would be shown in their facial expressions. However, as the wedding ceremony was over, they had already become husband and wife and had no other choice but to accept the arrangement. It was also believed that being husband and wife for one day meant devotion for the rest of their lives.

After the wedding night, the love between the husband and wife would have developed. As to the reason why the arm of a steelyard was used to life up the bridal veil, there are some stories. It was said that the 16 graduation marks on the beam of a steelyard corresponded to the seven stars of prosperity, high position and long life. Therefore, it was auspicious to use a steelyard beam to lift up the bridal veil.

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