Happy activities such as wedding, birthday and having a new baby are called as “red affairs” in Xiamen whereas the funeral rite is called as “white affairs”.
Wedding The current marriage customs is not as complicated as the traditional ones. In most cases, the wedding dates are carefully chosen according to the Chinese horoscope and it is the seniors in both families that preside over the wedding. Traditionally, the bride’s family sends dowry to the groom’s family and decorates the bridal chamber for the new couple on the day before marriage. Early on the wedding day, the bridegroom fetches the bride and the bridegroom’s family holds a banquet for guests that evening. After the feast, guests regardless of their status in the family would crowd in the bridal chamber playing all kinds of games to add more joy to the wedding .On the third day, the bride and groom return to the bride’s family, where the bride’s relatives and friends attend the feast to celebrate the wedding . Nowadays, many lovebirds choose a honeymoon trip or a wedding banquet instead of the traditional wedding feast.
Birthday Birthdays are of greater significance for residents in Xiamen after one reaches the age of 16, 50 and 60. The 16th birthday is regarded as a quite important point to enter into adult life, for which the typical birthday presents from the relatives are chickens alive, thin noodles and clothes. Usually, the parents will hold a feast to express their thanks. While for the elderly parents’ birthdays, especially the 60th birthday of the father or the 50th birthday of the mother, the grownup sons and daughters will offer food with happy symbolic implications such as pork knuckle, “long-life” noodles wine and egg to show their thanks for what the parents have done for their children. Some families even invite their relatives and friends to the celebration to make the occasion grand.
Having a New Baby Having a new baby is an exciting event according to local customs .On the “Third Chao” when a baby turns three days old, the paternal grandparents prepare a barrel of “oil rice” for the bride’s family to announce this good news. Then a month after the baby arrives, the “oil rice” is prepared by the paternal grandparents again and handed out to close friends and neighbors as a celebration for the baby’s first full month of life (the Chinese term translates as “Full Moon”). It is also celebrated with a large feast when the baby is 4 months and a year old.
Funeral Rituals In the present days, more people reject the traditional ostentatious burial ritual as attitudes and lifestyles change. To streamline the mortuary ritual, the dead are often cremated rather than buried and all aspects of the arrangements are undertaken by the Funeral Management Office.