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Why do Chinese newlyweds bow to Heaven and Earth in a traditional wedding ceremony?

2014-12-10 15:23 ChineseTime

Why do Chinese newlyweds bow to Heaven and Earth in a traditional wedding ceremony

A red wedding gown, satin bridal veil, dragon-phoenix cakes, firecrackers exploding in the air - all these elements are used in a traditional Chinese wedding with “happy” and “auspicious” connotations. In addition, bowing to Heaven and Earth in front of the family altar is also a major element that indicates a good start in the marriage. A legendary story lies behind this distinctive custom.

As the Chinese legend goes, when Nyuwa started creating humans, she molded a male figure from yellow clay. This man lived a comfortable life with nothing to worry about, but he felt lonely since there was no one to keep him company. He asked Moon Lord (the legendary Chinese matchmaker) to find a bosom friend for him. At Moon Lord’s request, Nyuwa created a female figure as the man’s companion. When they got married, Moon Lord came with two white-haired and white-bearded seniors and said to the newlyweds, “These two are Lord of Heaven and Lord of Earth, whom your life will be reliant on. You should bow to them three times to show your gratitude.” Since then, the custom of “bowing to Heaven and Earth” at the wedding ceremony has been handed down from generation to generation.

The place to perform it is usually in front of the bridal chamber, where an altar table is placed with memorial tablets for the two Lords on it.

Today, instead of bowing to Heaven and Earth, bowing to parents is more often performed.


Why do Chinese newlyweds bow to Heaven and Earth in a traditional wedding ceremony

Chinese Reading:
 

wǒ guó chuán tǒng hūn lǐ shàng , xīn láng 、 xīn niáng dōu yào bài tiān dì , jí yí bài tiān dì 、 èr bài yuè lǎo 、 sān bài gāo táng 。 zhè ge bài tiān dì de fēng sú shì hé shí xíng chéng de ne ?
我国传统婚礼上,新郎、新娘都要拜天地,即一拜天地、二拜月老、三拜高堂。这个拜天地的风俗是何时形成的呢?

xiāng chuán nǚ wā zào rén de shí hou , kāi shǐ zhǐ zào le yí gè jùn qiào de hòu shēng , zhè hòu shēng suī shuō yǒu chī yǒu chuān ,
相传女娲造人的时候,开始只造了一个俊俏的后生,这后生虽说有吃有穿,

xiāo yáo zì zai , dàn gū gū dān dān yì rén , zǒng jué dé hěn mèn 。 suó yǐ cháng āi shēng tàn qì 。
逍遥自在,但孤孤单单一人,总觉得很闷。所以常唉声叹气。

yì tiān wǎn shang , yuè liang yuán le , míng guāng guāng dì guà zài tiān shàng , xiǎo huǒ zi chù jǐng shēng qíng , gèng gǎn jì mò ,
一天晚上,月亮圆了,明光光地挂在天上,小伙子触景生情,更感寂寞,

jiù duì yuè liang shuō : “ yuè lǎo yuè lǎo nǐ xì tīng , gěi wǒ zhǎo gè zhī xīn rén , wǒ shì shì dài dài lǐng nǐ de qíng! ”
就对月亮说:“月老月老你细听,给我找个知心人,我世世代代领你的情!”

gāng shuō wán , yuè liang yì hū shǎn , yí gè bái méi cháng xū de lǎo rén zhǔ zhe yì gēn lóng tou guǎi gùn lái dào xiǎo huǒ zi de miàn qián ,
刚说完,月亮一忽闪,一个白眉长须的老人拄着一根龙头拐棍来到小伙子的面前,

shuō : “ hòu shēng bú yào chóu , wǒ gěi nǐ zhǎo gè xiǎo bāng shou ” 。 shuō wán hòu , yí zhèn qīng fēng , cháng xū lǎo rén bú jiàn le 。 xiǎo huǒ zi gǎn dào hěn nà mèn 。
说:“后生不要愁,我给你找个小帮手”。说完后,一阵清风,长须老人不见了。小伙子感到很纳闷。

guò le yí gè shí chén , jiù jiàn cháng xū lǎo rén lǐng zhe yí gè gū niang piāo you yōu dì luò dào xiǎo huǒ zi miàn qián , duì xiǎo huǒ zi shuō : “ wǒ dào nǚ wā nà lǐ ,
过了一个时辰,就见长须老人领着一个姑娘飘悠悠地落到小伙子面前,对小伙子说:“我到女娲那里,

ràng tā yòu zào le yí gè nǚ rén , gěi nǐ lǐng lái le 。   nǐ men xiān rèn shí yí xià , yí huì ér wǒ gěi nǐ men bàn xǐ shì 。 ” yì hū shǎn , lǎo rén bú jiàn le 。
让她又造了一个女人,给你领来了。 你们先认识一下,一会儿我给你们办喜事。”一忽闪,老人不见了。

xiǎo huǒ zi jiàn gū niang liǎn sāi fēi hóng , xiàng yuè jì huā yì bān , yú shì xǐ shàng méi shāo ; gū niang jiàn xiǎo huǒ zi yǎn jing míng liàng , chéng shí tǎn bái , yě jué dé qíng tóu yì hé 。
小伙子见姑娘脸腮绯红,像月季花一般,于是喜上眉梢;姑娘见小伙子眼睛明亮,诚实坦白,也觉得情投意合。


liǎng rén sì mù yí duì , yí jiàn zhōng qíng 。 xiǎo huǒ zi jié ba zhe shuō  :  “ nǐ yuàn yì hé wǒ yí kuài shēng huó ma ? ”   gū niang tīng le ,
两人四目一对,一见钟情。小伙子结巴着说 : “你愿意和我一块生活吗?” 姑娘听了,

liǎn shàng fēi qǐ liǎng duǒ hóng yún , shuō : “   yuàn yì 。 ” … … “   hā!  hā!  hā! ” zhèng zài zhè shí , chuán lái yí zhèn xiào shēng ,
脸上飞起两朵红云,说:“ 愿意。”……“ 哈! 哈! 哈!”正在这时,传来一阵笑声,

cháng xū lǎo rén lǐng zháo liǎng gè bái fà bái xū de lǎo rén zhàn zài xiǎo huǒ zi hé gū niang miàn qián , zhǐ zháo liǎng gè lǎo rén shuō :
长须老人领着两个白发白须的老人站在小伙子和姑娘面前,指着两个老人说:

“ zhè shì tiān gōng hé tǔ dì , nǐ men yǐ hòu de shēng huó quán dōu lí bù kāi tā liǎng 。 xiàn zài wǒ men gěi nǐ men bàn xǐ shì ,
“这是天公和土地,你们以后的生活全都离不开他俩。现在我们给你们办喜事,

shǒu xiān , jí yǎng yù nǐ men de tiān gōng 、 tǔ dì bài sān bài , ‘ yí bài 、 èr bài 、 sān bài ’ ” 。 suí zhe yuè xià lǎo rén de hǎn huà shēng ,
首先,给养育你们的天公、土地拜三拜,‘一拜、二拜、三拜’”。随着月下老人的喊话声,

xiǎo huǒ zi hé gū niang duì tiān 、 dì bài le sān bài 。 suí hòu , yuè xià lǎo rén xiào zhe shuō : “ wǒ gěi nǐ men qiān hóng xiàn , nǐ men hái dé gěi wǒ bài bài lǐ 。 ”
小伙子和姑娘对天、地拜了三拜。随后,月下老人笑着说:“我给你们牵红线,你们还得给我拜拜哩。”

“ yí bài 、 èr bài 、 sān bài ” 。 xiǎo huǒ zi hé gū niang yòu duì zhe yuè xià lǎo rén bài le sān bài 。 gāng bài wán , sān wèi lǎo rén quán bú jiàn le 。
“一拜、二拜、三拜”。小伙子和姑娘又对着月下老人拜了三拜。刚拜完,三位老人全不见了。

cóng zhè yǐ hòu , xiǎo huǒ zi měi tiān qí zǎo mō hēi , zài tián lǐ gàn huó , gū niang zài jiā wéi xiǎo huǒ zi shāo huǒ zuò fàn ,
从这以后,小伙子每天起早摸黑,在田里干活,姑娘在家为小伙子烧火做饭,
féng xīn xǐ jiù , liǎng rén ēn ēn ài ài , guò zhe xìng fú de rì zi 。
缝新洗旧,两人恩恩爱爱,过着幸福的日子。

wèi le gǎn xiè tiān 、 dì de yǎng yù zhī ēn , wèi le gǎn jī yuè xià lǎo rén qiān xiàn dā qiáo de qíng yì , cóng cǐ yǐ hòu zài jié hūn shí bì xū :
为了感谢天、地的养育之恩,为了感激月下老人牵线搭桥的情意,从此以后在结婚时必须:
yí bài tiān dì ; èr bài yuè xià lǎo rén ; sān bài fù mǔ 。 biàn xíng chéng liǎo jié hūn “ bài tiān dì ” de xí sú   。
一拜天地;二拜月下老人;三拜父母。便形成了结婚“拜天地”的习俗 。

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