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WHAT IS GUO DA LI?

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

ORIGINAL TIONG BAHRU
October 2024 / Issue No.1

The Betrothal ceremony, known as 'Guo Da Li' or 'Na Cai' in tradition, is a significant ritual where the Groom demonstrates his sincerity to the Bride's family before marrying her. This formal occasion usually takes place two to three weeks before the wedding day. During Guo Da Li, the Groom, accompanied by a senior relative, matchmaker, or close friend, presents the Dowry Money ('Pin Jin') and pre-agreed gifts to the Bride's family.

The customary gifts comprise specific gold jewelry and auspicious food items like oranges, wedding cakes, a pair of alcohol, traditional biscuits, candy, and grains. In Singapore, these items vary based on the diverse dialect groups prevalent in the region.

These gifts are meticulously prepared in pairs, symbolizing harmony, and are elegantly arranged in traditional tiered wedding baskets. The number of tiers signifies prosperity for the couple's future. Upon receiving the gifts, the Bride’s family reciprocates by returning a portion of the dowry money and food items. This gesture not only signifies good will but also signifies the shared fortune between the two families.
 

For those who prefer simplicity,

here is a condensed list of Guo Da Li items to consider:


2 pairs of Chinese wedding candles 龙凤烛 (a pair of dragons & a pair of phoenix wax candles)

During the ceremony, the groom gifts dragon candles, and the bride's mother presents phoenix candles, symbolizing their acceptance into each other's families. These candles are lit simultaneously on the wedding day.

1 big red packet for your betrothal money (聘金)

A tradition where the groom's family presents money to the bride's family, signifying respect and honor.

Gift for mother-in-law: 1 red packet for nappy/diaper money

(离乳礼金 or 洗尿肉喜包)

The groom offers a red packet to the bride'smother, expressing gratitude for raising thebride.

Gift for father-in-law: 2 bottles of hard liquors or wines

Represents groom's filial piety

2 sets of 5-coloured grains which consist of red beans, green beans,

yellow beans, black eyed beans & black beans

Symbolise blessings for the couple to have bountiful harvests (百年好合五谷)

Red dates

In Chinese tradition, the color red represents luck and symbolizes good fortune (鸿运当头)

Lily bulbs

Signifies purity and harmony, embodyingthe desire for a long-lasting and harmonious marriage (百年好合).

Dried longan & Lotus seeds

Symbolises blessings for fertility and having many children (早生贵子, 练练生子)

Rock sugar & Melon strips

Symbolises a sweet and everlastingmarriage (甜甜蜜蜜, 白头到老)

8 - 12 oranges

To symbolise good luck

Double happiness stickers & Organza bags



 







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