Saturday, April 24, 2010

Officially Engaged: Ting Hun

Exactly a week ago, Paul and I had our Ting Hun (Engagement Party). In Chinese, this symbolizes that both families formally accepts their new son/daughter-in-law into the family. The preparation was tedious. Thanks to my mom and to my soon-to-be MIL, they really took care of making sure we had the best Ting Hun possible.

Traditionally, a Ting Hun is done at the girl's residence but most couples and families nowadays opt to just do this at the restaurant to make it more convenient for both sides. We had ours at Annapolis Seafood Palace in San Juan. At exacly 930AM, my family went to the restaurant to make sure that the room was properly set-up, the display table was ready and everyone was set to welcome Paul's family in. I, on the other hand, was in my hiding place as I am not supposed to be seen by Paul before the ceremony.

Paul enters the room first carrying two bouquets of flowers. He was then followed by his parents and the rest of his Ting Hun entourage who were carrying the other items that were prepared by his family as gifts. Note that everything should once again be in pairs. Two bouquet of flowers, two sin-na, etc. Others may have more but everything should be even in number. They quickly laid everything down on the table and once everything was set, I was signaled by my uncle to come out of my hiding place.

No, I just didn't walked to the room and entered normally, I was led by my aunt as I walked backwards up until I reached the front portion of the room where Paul and everyone was.

Sitting down, my sister began to serve us with orange soda (orange juice is also allowed). As soon as everyone has drank the soda, we began with the gift giving ceremony.

Here's how this ceremony should go. Note that this could also be a good guide for all photographers to document each step of the gift giving ceremony:
1) Guy attaches corsage on the girl
2) Girl gets boutonneire and pins it on the guy.
3) Guy's mother puts on the bangles (double bangles tied with red thread) on the girl
4) Guy's father puts on the medallion/necklace on the girl
5) Guy's elder relative puts on the watch on the girl
6) Girl's father puts on the medallion/necklace on the guy
7) Girl's mother puts on the watch on the guy
8) *optional* Girl's elder relative puts on the bracelet on the guy
9) Guy gets the wedding ring and slides this on to the girl's ring finger
10) Girl gets the wedding ring and slides this on to the guy's ring finger

I honestly felt like a dressed-up Barbie doll right after this particular ceremony. :) 

After the gift-giving ceremony, we got the tea tray and began the tea ceremony. This is when both the guy and the girl will formally introduce every member of their family to one another. This is also the best time to begin calling your in-laws "Pa" and "Ma". Not a very easy thing to get used to right away...believe me. :)

Right after this, my mom invited the entire Ting Hun entourage to the table to eat a bowl of sweet egg soup (2 pcs of hard boiled eggs + 2 ang cho + sugar cubes) and misua. We were told that we do not really have to eat both eggs but to make sure to cut this into half as everything left on the bowl should still be in pairs. We also enjoyed the delicious misua which symbolizes long life.

My mom also prepared a set of cakes bearing our names. She ordered this from our favorite bakeshop -- Estrel's who makes the best caramel cakes in town!

After having our misua and sweet egg soup, Paul had to bring both cakes for a ride. He had to go around the restaurant twice, honking his car as he passes by. This symbolizes having a great marriage life together. (yeha!!) After which, he left the cake with my name in the car and went back carrying just one cake back. We were told to wait three full days before slicing up the cake.

We took loads of photos before our lunch lauriat was served, flowers from the bouquet were also given out to our guests as well. Goody bags were also prepared by Paul's side which were given out to our guests and even to those who couldn't make it to the party. This serves like a formal announcement that the soon-to-wed are now engaged.

In order to get the complete list of items that each side needs to prepare, you may check out My Little Kanchiu Book which I got not-so-long ago at a bridal fair. A number of Chinese convenience store is also selling this for a minimal price.

Well, as we love to receive gifts, every bride-to-be have to bear in mind that you will not bring home ALL of the gifts given to you by the guy's side. As soon as all the ceremony has ended, you have to split all items and return half of these to the guy's family as a sign of being polite.

As all engaged couples are considered lucky, it is then customary to avoid attending another engagement, wedding or even wakes up until your wedding day. However, this rule varies per family.

We're officially engaged! :)

our lovely photos by: Ian Santillan


MM said...


Summer Carullo said...

this is very informative. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

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