What you need to know
Why does a bride fling a fan out of the car window in Taiwan?
Weddings are occasions to celebrate no matter what country you are in. But each culture has its own wedding customs, and while these may change with the times, they reflect different social values.
Here are five wedding traditions you might see in Taiwan.
Setting off firecrackers
Firecrackers are lit along the groom’s way to pick up the bride at her home. It is meant to ward off evil and to let the bride know the groom is near. The bride’s family also sets off firecrackers to welcome the groom.
Water is usually splashed outward by the bride’s family as she leaves with the groom. This signifies that she is no longer a member of the family. However, this practice is nowadays less common as gender equality has developed and women are free to return to their families whenever they want to.
Flinging a fan
A fan tied with red envelopes is thrown as the bride prepares to leave her family home. The fan is then picked up by a male member of the bride’s family. This signifies the bride has left her family name (the word fan in Taiwanese is a homophone for surname) behind and taken her husband’s name; it also signifies leaving behind her bad habits and tempers.
Crossing a charcoal fire and cracking a clay tile
Upon arriving at the groom’s family home, the bride crosses over a charcoal fire before stamping on a clay tile and cracking it. This is believed to prevent bad luck and is also done to hope for a baby boy. Hot coals represent “vigor” and crossing over a charcoal fire is believed to encourage childbirth. However, pregnant brides do not take part in these practices for safety reasons.
Eating sweet rice dumplings
Sweet rice dumplings are eaten by the bride and groom after the couple enters their bridal chamber. The rice dumplings are also given to family, friends and neighbors to spread joy. The sweet dessert signifies a happy and “sweet” marriage, while dumplings cooked with lotus seeds, peanuts, dried longan or black dates are thought to encourage childbirth.
Editor: Edward White