Earlier this spring my ginger-headed cousin married a Chinese Canadian guy. Because it was a Chinese wedding, the couple had to perform a Tea Ceremony. As a student of the Orient I was expecting something like a Japanese Tea Ceremony

 

It wasn’t anything like that. In the Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony the couple presents a cup of tea to the parents of the bride and groom. If the parents don’t drink the tea, the wedding can’t take place – or at least it means the parents don’t give their blessing. After drinking the tea, the parents present their gift.

Ohhhh, I liked it on so many levels!

The bride and groom have to get permission from mom, pops, grandma, grandpa – maybe even aunts and uncles! And the gifts are conditional on the asking! This would save a lot of divorces. Not because parents cause divorce (although they can certainly cause marriage strife at times), but because young people marry some pretty stupid people. The family often sees red flags but don’t say anything to be polite, or say something but are despised for it.

With Chinese Tea Ceremonies the family is allowed to tactfully decline to drink the tea. They don’t have to worry about what to say, when to say it, how to say it, etc.