Is 婚闹 a practical joke played on the newly weds, which often leads to an awkward situation out of the control of both sides of the game? Is 闹新房 played by young aged kids on the bed in the chamber to wish the young couple to have their babies as soon as possible? Is there any difference of the meaning of 闹?

4 Answers 4


Quote:- "Is 婚闹 a practical joke played on the newly weds, which often leads to an awkward situation out of the control of both sides of the game?"

This topic brings up an interesting and often misunderstood historical-cultural practice of the ancient Chinese people centered on marriages which, actually, in all societies marks a critical milestone of a person's life and even in the life of a whole family or a whole village.

We therefore cannot see 婚闹 in the context of present day modern society. Even the mention of "sexual harassment" of the bride brought an indignant "WTF" from a Commentator.

婚闹 is just simple tribalism, borne out of primeval competition for limited resources, whether for land, water / food or women. It is ingrained into the human DNA. How is this connected to 婚闹?

First of all, the Chinese word "to marry", as in to marry a wife, is 娶, which has an "ear",耳, radical on the top left of the word. Why does to marry need an ear radical? I disagree that it is just a phonetic loan. My contention is that it has semantic significance.


Ancient Chinese soldiers, (I suppose as elsewhere), were rewarded according to how many enemy soldiers killed. (http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Zhou/zhou-military.html#rewardandpunishment)

The best and most convenient way to prove to your commander how many enemy soldiers killed was to cut off ears and show them to your commander. Thus “取”, meaning "to take / obtain" has a "ear" radical. (Perhaps it is equivalent to Native American Indians taking scalps?)

So, to marry has the ear radical because you need to "take" a "bride" from another tribe or village, (for reasons of local scarcity or just taboo to breed with a close relative) Hence the ear radical in the word 娶, to marry, i.e. to "take" a bride, and to take a bride or rather to do a "bride raid" the "groom" needed support, body guards from his fellow village men.

Even today, at weddings, the groom has to go to the bride's home to "fetch" her with a group of his close buddies in tow. In Chinese weddings these days, the groom is stopped at the bride's house door and has to pay some money in a red packet to get into the house. This represents the "resistance" of the bride's tribe in ancient times. In less developed parts of the World today, a "bride price", (a cow or a couple of pigs), was demanded, otherwise there will be inter-village war.

When I visited my ancestral 谢 village in Southern China, I was introduced to some of my relative's wives, and most of them, the wives, had the surname "馬" I learned later that the nearest village to our 谢 village is the 馬 village, and so most of the 谢 men had to get their wives from the 馬 village, (legitimately of course)

Now coming to 婚闹 and "sexual harassment of the bride"

闹 means, noisy, disturbance, even chaotic, etc. Why would a marriage, ostensibly a happy occasion, be such?

From the above about raiding another village for a bride, you could understand why, for when the "bride" was "taken" back to the "groom's" village, would not other men of the village, (not the groom's buddies), be jealous, envious and so "sexual harassment" of the bride and euphemistically, "闹新娘", "闹新郎" be the natural consequence?


"婚闹" is a word for "rough horseplay at a wedding", which includes the acts of "新房/洞房", "新娘", "伴娘","新郎","公公婆婆...." - "teasing the...."


As a native Chinese speaker, I think "闹新房", "闹洞房", "闹新娘" are all colloquial expressions, whereas "婚闹" is a written term, which is more formal and implies that the practice is backward and ignorant.

"闹" has the same meaning in these phrases.

In addition, babies are not the only ones who attend; sometimes male friends, such as the groom's best man, attend and sexually harass the bride.


Is there any difference of the meaning of 闹 between 婚闹 and 闹新房?


If people nowadays pervert an ancient custom in an immoral way, that is because the devil has not been driven from the bridal room! See the story below!

"闹新房", "闹洞房", "闹新娘" and "婚闹" are now generally regarded as bad.

Regarding the origin of the 闹房 custom,
it has its origin in driving out devils and avoiding disaster.
According to legend, a long time ago Purple Star descended to the world of mortals,
on the road he met a woman dressed in mourning clothes,
following behind a wedding procession,
he saw a devil looking for an opportunity to do evil,
so he followed to the groom's house,
to his surprise he noticed that the woman had already arrived,
and hidden herself in the bridal room.
After the bride and bridegroom finished making their obeisances and wanted to enter the bridal room,
Purple Star blocked the door and would not let them in,
saying hidden inside was a devil.
Everyone asked him how to get rid of the devil,
He made a proposal saying:
"Devils are most afraid of many people, there is strength in numbers,
then devils will not dare commit crime or do evil."
Therefore, the bridegroom bid the guests enter the bridal room to frolic and banter,
using laughter to drive away the demon,
Sure enough, by the fifth watch,
the devil finally fled.

My theory: Purple Star is an alien sheriff hunting an intergalactic gangster!

A similar thing in Spain is the custom of banging the bottom of an upturned saucepan with a wooden spoon, to express dislike. Very noisy, the evil spirits flee!

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