On October 4, 2015, Foshan Lingnan Tiandi held a group wedding ceremony in a traditional Lingnan style at “Wenhuili Marriage House”. In the theme of “Love in Lingnan”, inheriting 300 years of marriage custom in Lingnan area, nine new couples selected from Foshan, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong will experience a traditional wedding ceremony, usually seen in films, including wearing traditional wedding dress, sitting in a bridal sedan-chair, kicking the door of the sedan-chair, jumping across brazier, and bowing to parents. Moreover, local-specific figures Gook Luck Elders (an elderly male and a female) attended the ceremony to bring more blessings to the couples. The founder and Chairman of the Shui On Group, Mr. Vincent H. S. Lo and Ms. Loletta Chu also came to witness how traditional Lingnan culture revives in the new era.
Lingnan Marriage Custom Revives at 300-year-old Marriage House
As one of the dynamic carriers of traditional culture, custom has gradually become a valuable cultural heritage through generations. Invaluable marriage customs were kept in Lingnan area. Foshan Lingnan Tiandi has been committed to promoting traditional Lingnan culture. In 2013, a tailor-made group wedding ceremony was organized by Lingnan Tiandi for the first time. The over 300-year old marriage house was opened to new couples for the first time. Two persons from different families tie the knot. The style of wedding ceremony carries forward the distinctive traditional marriage culture in Lingnan areas.
Wenhuili Marriage House, within Foshan Lingnan Tiandi Project Phase II, was built in early Qing dynasty. This building complex was first inhabited by a Yang family. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, Foshan was densely populated, and at that time, the wedding gave priority to grand ceremony to attract more attention. Spacious places, however, were not available. Under this circumstance, the Yang family rented out their big houses for wedding events, which turned into a custom. After mid-Qing dynasty, the owner of the building changed; ever after it served as marriage houses. Wenhuili Marriage House, as the model of one-stop wedding ceremony venue, used to be highly popular. It provided spacious halls and comfortable environment, and a set of specific rooms for wedding ceremony such as marriage room, obeisance rite hall, Jiaxi hall (happy family hall), and wedding room. Besides, big red lantern designed for wedding events, big red bridal sedan chair, Bayin Luogu (eight tune gong and drum) were all available.
Mr. Vincent H. S. Lo and Ms. Loletta Chu to witness happy marriage
Marriage is one of the most important events in a person’s life. There is an old saying, “Passing the imperial examination is the greatest event, closely followed by marriage.” This grand group wedding ceremony boasts as the only one in China that recovers the Lingnan marriage custom in historical marriage house.
The new couples start from the Marco Polo Hotel at Foshan Lingnan Tiandi. The brides sitting on bridal sedan chairs follow the Chinese-style honor guard and Bayin Luogu performers along the Liangyuan Road (blessed marriage road) until they reach marriage house, outside of which the brides complete such traditional rites as kicking sedan door and jumping across brazier. Then they will be led into the room by the Dajinjie (female Gook Luck Elder) and the obeisance rite will be completed there. The rite follows traditional practice. First the groom lifts up the veil covering the bride’s face; then they will drink wine with arms crossed and present tea to their parents-in-law.
Officers from Foshan Municipal government and Mr. Vincent H. S. L, chairman of Shui On Group and Ms. Loletta Chu will witness the ceremony and send their blessings. They will guide the newly-weds to make their love promise, marking the completion of their wedding ceremony.
Exceptional Wedding Experience for The Young Generation
To further promote traditional Lingnan marriage custom among young people, Lingnan Tiandi opened Wechat application channel for this group wedding ceremony. The active participation by young couples fromGuangzhou, Foshan, even from Hong Kong, demonstrates the unique and enduring charm of Lingnan culture. Among the new couples, many of them are fans of Lingnan marriage culture. And this group wedding ceremony will help to realize their dream of having a traditional wedding ceremony.
“The active participation of young couples from different parts proves that young people show high recognitions of our efforts at preserving traditional Lingnan culture and that our preserving model makes Lingnan culture reach wider regions, including Guangzhou, Foshan, and Pearl River Delta areas, even Hong Kong and Macau.” Mr.Dixon Man, deputy director of Foshan project of Shui On Land, said, “The marriage registration office of Chancheng District, Foshan City, is near the Wenhuili Marriage House of Lingnan Tiandi. The office is quaint and elegant and has become a popular marriage registration place for many young couples. The Wenhuili Marriage House, together with the registration office, forms a complete set of Lingnan marriage culture, which enables Lingnan traditional marriage culture reaches wider and gain more attraction.”
Impressive Culture Preservation Results Brought by Lingnan Tiandi
The ancient Foshan is one of the four famous cities in China, giving birth to urban scenery and tonality of this city in modern age. Taking Zumiao, Donghuali, and historical areas as the axis for development, Foshan Lingnan Tiandi makes full use of the pot ear shaped gable,tile ridge, carved eaves, and meandering alleys. These are all typical Lingnan architecture, which maintain the historical characteristics and urban landscape, meanwhile creating comfortable open space in the way of combining historical and modern elements. To highlight and showcase Foshan’s status as hometown of Cantonese opera, Foshan Lingnan Tiandi introduced pottery, martial arts, various food from all over the world, and many specialty shops and restaurants to enrich the complexity of the area and fresh consumers’ experience in dining and shopping here . The catering companies here include such time-honored Foshan brands as Taigenpu Rice Porridge, and dynamic international brands as Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Haagen-Dazs. Many specialty brands such as Honeymoon Desert, Wu Xi Restaurant, Koyama Japanese Cuisine, Pacific Coffee, The West, Minxin, also find their places. The integration of Eastern and Western elements, combined with diversified business models, helps shape a modern lifestyle full of Cantonese characteristics. Foshan Lingnan Tiandi has become a signature area of Foshan city.
With unique culture, Lingnan Tiandi is also committed to promoting and refining Lingnan culture by introducing more international artistic elements to it. In 2014, it joined hands with master artist Gu Wenda and held an art exhibition featuring “filial piety” in the form of modern arts, making this traditional moral culture manifest a modern and stylish face by absorbing creative and vanguard art elements. Lingnan Tiandi cooperated with internationally-known photographer Ms. Loletta Chu Lo and held two photography exhibitions, which inspired people’s passion for Lingnan culture. Amid the growing integration between traditional culture and modern arts, Lingnan Tiandi has become the new carrier of Foshan’s urban culture and a window for others to know about Foshan.
General Manager of China Xintiandi Foshan project Mr. Joe Zou said, “This is the second time for Foshan Lingnan Tiandi to hold such a group wedding ceremony since 2013. I believe it would be an unforgettable moment for the new couples. Lingnan Tiandi will surely be committed to preserving local cultural heritage, and making the city prosperous through cultural activities.”