Memory.. Little threads that hold life's patches of meaning together. ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Koh Tai Lei" on Father's Day

According to the 'tong shu' (Chinese almanac), last Sunday was a very auspicious day for weddings. It was the reason why so many people had their weddings on that day itself. I know coz I did my homework, kay. Since it was an auspicious date, we decided to have our "koh tai lei" (also known as "betrothal ceremony") on Sunday.

KTL (in short la!) is held for the groom's party to visit the bride's family, bearing gifts - usually in terms of food, money and things. Apparently they must be of some form of significant meanings and comes in nice numbers like 2, 6 and 8. Inspector and I had initially wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. But the sooner the KTL date approaches, there were more demands from both sides of the families on what they want to receive, what they should buy, what they should follow. It was more headache and stress for us coz we had to reach a compromise between both the families. Even though we are not Hokkien, both parents still wanted to follow a bit here and there. What's worse was when all the 'yi ma ku jie' starts dropping ideas on what to do, what to get. *Ggggrrrrr*

On KTL day, the groom's side arrived with the gifts and roasted pig. Traditionally, the roasted pig is only presented to the bride's family on the 3rd day of the wedding. It is to signify the bride's purity. Means if not virgin, then no pig la! *lol*

Koh Tai Lei ceremony
Gifts from the Groom

Gifts comprised of 48 boxes of 'ka lui beng' (loosely translated as 'daughter getting married' biscuits), 'fatt choy', 2 bottles of wines, 8 oranges, 8 apples, a bunch of grapes, lotus, some vege (is that 'choy sum'?), oysters, mushrooms, a lump sum of money as dowry, and a red cloth to be hung on the entrance door.

Roasted Pig
Roasted pig. Think it's a mummy pig, got flower one!

Roasted Pig
Close up look of the pig's head. Errrr.. No comment.

Roasted Pig
Measuring at nearly 3 feet long. It even weighed 33 catty.

They brought along a 'chopping' expert to help us chop the pig. This was what he had to do..

Chop middle part of the pig out - for the bride's family to distribute to their relatives. The head and the legs are to be returned to the groom's side.

Roasted Pig

Bride's family replace with a red package which consists of a pair of dark blue pants and a belt for the groom. Apparently, the pants means 'wealth' in Cantonese and the belt is to 'tie the wealth' around the groom's waist so that he is always blessed with good wealth.

Roasted Pig

Cover the missing body part with a red piece of paper to make it look like a complete pig. Top it up with 2 Mandarin oranges in front of the pig to signify wealth. We didn't have Mandarin oranges, so we made do with normal Sunkist oranges instead. Tee hee hee..

Roasted Pig

Now that the pig's done, we proceeded with the gift returns. We returned 2 boxes of 'ka lui beng', along with 8 pieces of 'fatt kou' (pink coloured kuihs) and another 8 pieces of some fried kuihs with sesame seeds.

Sweet Things

Add a small token of 'angpow' in each bag.

For each gifts the groom's side gave us, we returned them in a lesser amount, some wrapped in 'angpow' packets. And 2 bottles of cordial orange were given in exchange of the wines. We also returned a partial of the dowry money, also must be auspicious amount!

Gifts for the Groom's Party
Gifts returned back to the groom - Except the wooden carrier. That was for us! *lol*

Mum also prepared other gifts.... Red baby bath tub (for fertility la). Red potty (wrapped in red paper with an 'angpow' in it, for an assigned baby boy to poke through the paper and grab the 'angpow' before he jumps onto the wedding bed). Red umbrella (to cover the bride when she leaves the house on the wedding day). Red basin (dunno for what). Sewing kit. Red ruler (to measure what ah?).

Everything Red
All things red! Errrrrrrrrrrrrr..................................

Then the groom's party left with their gifts. Inspector and I went to our respective relatives' places to offer prayers to our grandparents and ancestors, in a way to 'announce' to them that we are getting married, to 'invite' them to our wedding as a form of blessing. For Inspector's ancestors, we burnt money and nice 'clothes' for them to 'wear' to our wedding. Then we distributed more invitation cards along with the 'ka lui beng' to our relatives.

We proceeded to purchase our wardrobe and room curtains. Now that was done, we finally managed to breathe a sigh of relief. It was indeed a very long day but we were both glad that we were over with the KTL ceremony and done with the furniture shopping. Next up would be the furniture deliveries, shifting my things over to the house, and going back to Dad's hometown during the coming weekend to offer prayers to Yeh Yeh and Nai Nai.

I must admit one thing, although we encountered a lot of stress while planning for KTL ceremony, but it was quite interesting to learn why was the traditions done in such and such ways, what did the gifts resemble and all that. The best part of all - 'SIEW YUK' (roasted meat)! Yum yum!!!!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home