What Is A Ting Hun?

December 28, 2013  •  1 Comment

One of the most interesting aspects of Chinese and Pinoy cultures is that they have such a rich traditional heritage for particular events, most especially in weddings. One of these rituals is known as the Ting Hun. No, Ting Hun is not a relative of Attila The Hun.

It is known as the formal engagement ceremony. To the Chinese, the Ting Hun symbolizes the acceptance of both the bride and groom-to-be in each of their families. The Filipino equivalent of this is called “The Pamamanhikan”. Honoring these traditions are a way of asserting the couple’s cultural identity, which surely should be captured as part of the prenuptial photography album.

What is a Ting Hun?

According to Chinese culture, the Ting Hun is traditionally done in the girl’s house. But since we live in modern times, Chinese-Filipino families opt to hold the ceremony at a restaurant instead. This greatly reduces the hassle for the girl’s relatives and makes it much more convenient for both sides of the family.

The restaurant is not the only consideration when it comes to the Ting Hun. There’s a lot of formality that goes into this event, as documented by kasal.com’s Jonathan Dionisio in his article, “A Guide to the Filipino-Chinese Wedding Rituals”.

First, the groom’s family publishes the event at a local Chinese newspaper as an ad during the day of the Ting Hun. Prior to the arrival of all the guests, the groom’s family must be at the venue an hour before the start of the ceremony.

The Ting Hun officially begins when the bride’s family accepts the groom’s company. The groom starts the procession by carrying a box of corsage down the aisle. Relatives of the groom follow suit, with each pair carrying a Sin Na (which is a fancy Chinese term for “gift”). Sin Na’s are actually four-layered bamboo boxes (like the ones restaurants use to serve siopao or siomai) filled with Chinese herbs that symbolize happiness and prosperity for the couple’s marriage. The groom’s parents, and the other relatives carrying gifts, round up the march.

Once the gifts are brought into the room, the elder representatives prepare the ceremonial table, placing the red bridal satin cloth over it with the gifts on top. Red is a color that represents happiness, joy, and long life. Once this has been accomplished, the bride and groom’s representatives take their respective seats on the table.

The bride enters the room backwards, a sign of canceling negative energy and a move that prevents her from seeing the groom. She is then turned clockwise three times by her escort, before she can finally see her husband-to-be. Drinks, such as red or orange juice, are served by the female members of the bride’s family to the rest of the entourage, from eldest to youngest (as a sign of respect for the elders). The couple to be wed are served last. Once the couple has been served, they can proceed to the gift-giving ceremony.

Once the gifts have been exchanged, the entire family proceeds to the tea ceremony, an act of respect. The bride serves the groom’s family, from eldest to the youngest. The groom also does the same, but for the bride’s family.

When all the guests have had their tea, picture taking can commence. According to Jonathan Dionisio, the couple can follow this order for reference:

  • Newly engaged couple
  • Couple with bride’s parents
  • Couple with bride’s immediate family
  • Couple with both parents
  • Couple with groom’s parents
  • Couple with groom’s immediate family
  • Couple with groom’s engagement party
  • Couple with bride’s engagement party
  • Couple with bride’s relative
  • Couple with bride’s friends

Once the picture taking comes to a close, the engagement party will take sweet tea soup and misua as a sign of a harmonious relationship of the bride with her new family and a long-lasting relationship with her husband in marriage, respectively.

Near the end of the Ting Hun, Ang Paos (envelopes with money) are returned to the groom, who then gives them back to his parents. The bride’s female family members give away flowers to the single ladies, while rest prepare the giveaway bags.

The groom then takes both the cakes displayed at the ceremonial table (his and his wife-to-be’s) to a car along with his representative (the groom carries his bride’s cake while the representative carries his). They will drive around the block of the restaurant twice. Driving around the block represents a lifelong union between the husband and wife. The groom then carries back the cake with his name back into the venue, leaving the wife’s cake in the car. The total number of the Sin Na’s brought into the Ting Hun is divided into two, with the other half being given to the family of the groom at the start or end of the rite.

At the end of the Ting Hun, the participants, guests, and family members of the bridegroom-to-be eat at the reception prepared for them.


Comments

Len(non-registered)
Hi

May I know your availability on May 7 for tinghun coverage? And packages available

Thanks
Len
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