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The grand gift ceremony is the most important procedure during the engagement. It is usually held 15 to 20 days prior the wedding day. The groom's family pick the best date to bring the gift to the bride's parents.
All gifts must be in even numbers, meaning pairs. The bride's family must return half of the grand gift, except cash gift, which symbolises the bride and groom share all of their blessing and happiness. One of most important thing to remember is to not include handkerchiefs in the gift basket because the word 'handkerchief' sounds like 'break up' in Chinese.
Below is the shopping list for The Grand Gift Ceremony:
1) Cash Gift -- The bride's family will make an offer. The groom's family usually agree with the first offer. This is considered an appreciation gift /compensation to the bride's parents for raising the bride. The dollar amount usually ends with a "9", means "forever and ever".
2) Chinese Cakes and Pastries -- Dragon and Phoenix pastries (2 pairs). Regular Cakes 400 pieces (50KG). Actual cakes, however, can be replaced with bakery vouchers, which are easier to carry around and allows one to purchase the cakes at their own convenience. There are uniquely designed envelopes for these bakery vouchers available on our website.
3) Dragon and Phoenix Candles -- One pair.
4) Dried Seafood --Dried seafood such as Fat Cai and dried mushrooms are essentials in the ceremony. One can purchase more expensive seafood items, such as abalones, sea cucumbers, shark fins, and dried scallops, but they are optional. Dried seafood is presented in sets of four, six, or eight, and the style and quantity depends on the groom's family's economic status or the number of members in the groom's family, while Fat Cai represents good omens of prosperity and fortune.
5) Coconuts -- Two pairs of coconuts are needed. Note that if one of the bride's parents is deceased, then only one pair is needed. 'Coconut' in Chinese has the same pronunciation as 'grandfather and son'.
6) Wine or Liquor -- Four bottles.
7) Four Beijing Dried Fruits -- This set includes dried dragon eyes, dried lychee, lotus seeds, red beans, and peanuts, all of which bear blessings.
8) Betel Nuts -- Two pairs of betel nuts, pronounced as 'Bin Lang' in Chinese. 'Lang' means 'groom', and the groom's family will send over two pairs. The bride's family will return three betel nuts and keep only one. This means that the bride will only follow one husband in her lifetime.
9) Tea -- As tea trees can't be transplanted, one must plant seeds in order to grow new tea trees. This represents the couple's dedication to one another, meaning that the seeds of their hearts will forever be planted in the soil of their marriage.
10) Three Poultries -- This traditionally consists of two pairs of live chicken or geese, two males and two females. Note that if one of the bride's parents is deceased, then only one pair is needed. Additionally, 2 to 4 kilograms of shoulder-cut pork are needed, as the way the pork is cut will make it seem almost like a bird or butterfly in flight, meaning 'double fly'. However, this is the more traditional method; nowadays, people prefer to use the red envelopes one usually sees during Chinese New Year. Money to buy the poultry and pork is put into those red envelopes, upon which is handwritten 'Chicken' or 'Pork', or bears a picture of either.