Mr. HC wasn't the only one who walked off with a prize after the door games, I got a BRAND NEW CAR.
Okay, I didn't. Actually I got a brand new groom, complete with the giant red bow. (What did you think this was, "My Super Sweet Sixteen"?!)
Before heading off to the tea ceremony, Hottest Sister Cocoa and I made sure that Mr. HC was appropriately dressed for the occasion by accessorizing him with a red satin bow.
Allegedly, the bow is the last remaining vestige of the traditional "capping" ritual. According to one source, during this ritual,
[d]ressed in a long gown, red shoes and a red silk sash with a silk ball on his shoulder, the groom knelt at the family altar while his father placed a cap decorated with cypress leaves on his head.(As an aside to other Chewish brides, this ritual is reminiscent of the bedecken, only between father and son, instead of groom and bride, and if we had to do it all over again, we probably could have integrated some of this ritual, perhaps by just having Mr. HC's father say a Jewish blessing while placing a kippah or even a Chinese cap on Mr. HC's head.)
The groom bowed first before the tablets of Heaven and Earth and his ancestors, then to his parents and the assembled family members. His father removed the silk ball from the sash and placed it on top of the bridal sedan chair.
Having just been thoroughly worked over by my bridesmaids, Mr. HC was pretty certain that the bow was just another trick we were playing on him. So for my dear, sweet, skeptical husband, I am offering here some documentary proof.
Exhibit 1: Hello Kitty.
To add the perfect FOB (that's "fresh off the boat" for those of you not hip to first-generation Chinese immigrant speak) touch to our wedding, one of my aunts bought us this Hello Kitty bride and groom to preside over our tea ceremony. Notice that Mr. Kitty is wearing a giant red bow with his costume.
And we know that Hello Kitty, despite being Japanese in origin, is just about the most authentically Hong-Kongnese icon, so this should be proof enough.
But if that's not enough . . . .
As an unfortunate number of my students seem to believe, the internet does not lie. Ever. So here are two photos documenting the tradition of grooms' wearing red bows. The second image is from the website of Koon Nam Wah, from which we purchased both my qua and Mr. HC's bow.
I rest my case.
What I loved most about the giant red bow, though, is that it was quite the conversation piece for the evening; it introduced our non-Chinese guests to a fun Chinese wedding tradition. And Mr. HC looked so adorable with it that I really did feel like I had won the grand prize!
In addition to the bow, prior to the tea ceremony, Mr. HC also received his boutonniere. If you remember from a previous post, I had ordered a locket with photos of Mr. HC's Zadie and Bubbe. I'm so glad the boutonniere arrived before the tea ceremony, so that Mr. HC really did get to keep his deceased grandparents close to his heart for all the important parts of the day.
Next up: the tea ceremony!