Singaporebrides | Weddings 101
5 Essential Need-to-Knows of The An Chuang (安床) Ceremony
Ace your An Chuang ceremony with these essential need-to-knows on the setting up of your matrimonial bed.
Wedding traditions are practices that originated from a long time ago and passed down the generations. And as modern day brides, we may not be fully aware of the function of these traditions or the rules surrounding these practices. Nonetheless, as a Chinese bride, you’ll be expected to follow these practices to bless your union, and the An Chuang (安床) ceremony is one of the many traditions you’re expected to carry out.
To keep your wedding planning journey a smooth and pleasant one, we’ve put together 5 essential need-to-know details about the An Chuang ceremony to help you better understand this tradition and decipher what you need for the ceremony.
What is the An Chuang ceremony and what is its significance?Joyce and Melvin’s Intimate and Elegant Wedding at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore by Pixioo Photography
The An Chuang (安床) ceremony is the setting up of the matrimonial bed before the couple embarks on their customary wedding. It involves decorating the bed with items that are meant to bless the couple with a blissful and harmonious marriage filled with many offsprings.
When Should the An Chuang Ceremony Take Place?Daren Tan and Nadia Lum’s Wedding with a Secret Garden Theme in Grand Hyatt Singapore by John Lim Photography
Traditionally, the An Chuang ceremony is conducted on an auspicious date and at an auspicious time. Today, this ritual is held anytime between three days to a week before the wedding. For couples who prefer to follow an auspicious date for their An Chuang ceremony, consult our Auspicious Dates calendar.
Who is Involved in the An Chuang Ceremony?Li Syn and Abel’s Floral-Filled Wedding at The Fullerton Hotel by Andri Tei Photography
Typically, the groom and/or his parents or grandparents will be part of the An Chuang ceremony, especially for couples belonging to the Teochew or Hokkien dialects. If the groom’s parents or grandparents are not around, then a good fortuned lady (好命婆) whose spouse, children and grandchildren are still around will help out in the ceremony. A young boy whose horoscope doesn’t clash with the bride and groom, and who is not born in the year of the Tiger, is also invited to be part of the ceremony.
What do you need to do for your An Chuang ceremony?What You Need To Know About The Chinese Betrothal Ceremony, Guo Da Li by The Chinese Wedding Shop
During the An Chuang ceremony, the matrimonial bed will be shifted slightly out of position and decorated with a new set of bed linen in an auspicious colour, either red, pink or lavender, and some items brought back by the groom from the Guo Da Li ceremony. Here’s a detailed list of items you’ll need for the An Chuang ceremony:
A set of new bed linen (in auspicious colours of red, pink or lavender)
A pair of bedside lamps
Fate Coins (大缘小缘)
Antique Chinese coins
A round Double Happiness plate or tray (where you’ll put the following items on as your Gift Box (礼金))
• 2 red packets with gold coins of any amount
• 2 or 4 Tangerines or Oranges
• Dried Red Dates
• Dried Longans
• Lotus Seeds
• Pomegranate or Pine Tree Leaves
• Lily Bulbs
• Peanuts or Walnuts
• Dried Melon Seeds
The Fate Coins are to be placed at the four corners of the bed, room, wardrobes and drawers while the antique Chinese coins are to be inserted top facing into red packets and placed at each corner of the mattress and under each pillow. The pair of bedside lamps will be lit and left on until after the third day of the An Chuang ritual.To Love And To Cherish by Multifolds Productions
After the ceremony is completed, the parties involved in the ceremony will recite the following blessings:
百年好合 (May you be blessed with a blissful and harmonious marriage for a century)
早生贵子 (May you be blessed with plenty of children quickly)
白头偕老 (May you grow old together)
永浴爱河 (May you always be filled with love for one another)
After which, the young boy will be invited to roll on the bed to bless the couple with an abundance of children in their marriage. This is known as 压床 or 翻床.
An Chuang Taboos That You Need To Be Aware OfSteph and Weilun’s Travel-Themed Capella Singapore Wedding by Bobby Kiran Photography
Once the An Chuang ceremony is completed, there are several do not’s to observe until the wedding day to ensure that the blessing of the marriage is intact. Here are the four taboos to avoid:
1. Avoid colours of mourning like black, grey or blue for the new bed linens.
2. No one should touch, sit or rest on the bed.
3. If the groom has to sleep on the matrimonial bed before the wedding, a young boy born in the year of the Dragon should accompany him, as it is believed to be bad luck to leave one side of the bed empty as it foretells the death of one party.
4. The bride should avoid lying on the bed before the wedding as it is believed to lead to poor health.
With these five essential need-to-knows, you’ll be well prepared for your An Chuang ceremony. To learn more about the Chinese wedding traditions for your wedding, read Wedding Traditions – The Traditional Bride.
Credit: Feature Image from Cheryl Wee and Roy Fong’s Exquisite, Whimsical Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Millennia Singapore by Trouvé Photography