Traditional Gifts for a Vietnamese Wedding

Written by karen lac
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Traditional Gifts for a Vietnamese Wedding
A Vietnamese couple receives various traditional gifts from family and friends. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

In Vietnamese culture, getting married is a significant event not only for the bride and groom but also for their families and community. A traditional Vietnamese wedding involves a wedding ceremony and banquet. Reflecting the important role of family, gifts are exchanged between the families during different stages of the wedding ceremony. Following the wedding ceremony is a banquet, during which the couple receives monetary gifts from invited guests.

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Groom's Family

On the wedding day, the groom and members of his family go to the bride's house with various gifts. Each member of the groom's family carries a tray covered in red cloth or a red canister. The trays or canisters contain gifts such as Betel leaves, Areca nuts, tea, wine, cakes and fruit. These gifts are presented to members of the bride's family who will them inside.

Betel Leaves and Areca Nuts

It is important for the groom's family to give Betel leaves and Areca nuts as these two items have been associated with welcoming and spending time with loved ones since ancient times. The Vietnamese believe that Betel leaves and Areca nuts make people more open and closer. Thus, gifting and sharing Betel leaves and Areca nuts is a sign of respect and gratitude. They consume these items by rolling slices of Areca nut inside a Betel leaf, along with lime paste and other flavourings, and chewing it.

Parents

During the marriage ceremony, the couple performs various rituals such as asking for marriage blessings from their ancestors and parents, thanking the parents for raising them and expressing their gratitude for each other. At the end of the ceremony, the couple's parents present them with various gifts. These gifts are usually valuable jewellery such as gold bracelets, earrings and necklaces.

Banquet Guests

After the wedding ceremony, a wedding banquet is usually held at a restaurant for friends and family. Often numbering into the hundreds, guests at the wedding banquet include those who were not present at the wedding ceremony. During the banquet, the bride, groom and their parents greet and toast the guests at each table. The guests in return give red envelopes or wedding cards containing money to help the bride and groom start their new life.

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