A set of special stamps on "Chinese and Western Wedding Customs" are released by Hongkong Post.
"As I have held thy hand, so I shall grow old with thee." Marriage is a lifelong promise between a man and a woman. It is also an important event in a couple’s life. Throughout time and across cultures, nuptial ties are formed at marriage ceremonies. Apart from bringing sweet and memorable moments for the bride and groom, a wedding is a joyful occasion shared with family and friends. Influenced by culture, traditions and the way of life, marital customs vary in different societies. In Hong Kong where the East meets the West, weddings are characterized by a blend of traditional Chinese etiquette and Western customs. This set of stamps introduces the wedding culture of Hong Kong from various perspectives, highlighting the harmonious mix of Chinese and Western elements.
$1.40 – The newlyweds, in traditional Chinese wedding dress, perform their bows as part of the ceremony. The dragon and phoenix embroidery on the bridal dress symbolizes nobility, auspiciousness and a blessed union. Forming a backdrop are a "double-happiness" paper-cutting and two big red lanterns, adding to the joyous atmosphere.
$1.80 – Their hearts filled with love for each other, the groom, in his tuxedo, and the bride, in her wedding gown, exchange their vows. The wedding rings on their fingers are tokens of enduring love and faithfulness.
$2.40 – "Gift Presentation" in traditional Chinese wedding etiquette is very much like a betrothal ceremony. On the day of "Gift Presentation", the groom’s family will pay a visit to the bride’s family, bringing gift money, bridal cakes, coconuts, tea leaves, etc. to make a formal marital pledge.
$2.50 – Cutting a cake at a wedding is a Western tradition. The new couple shares the cake with their family and friends who partake in the joyful celebrations and share the happiness of the bride and groom.
$3 – The red background with dragon and phoenix motifs suggests auspiciousness and joyfulness in Chinese weddings. The couple, in gold silhouette, has drunk their nuptial wine: now they will never part.
$5 – Western weddings are usually held in a church or a garden. Decorations are mainly in white. An archway adorned with roses and wedding bells lend solemnity and a touch of sweetness to the occasion.
In this stamp issue, red and gold, popular colours for Chinese celebrations are used in three of the stamps to emphasize the cheerful bustle of Chinese weddings. White and pink, being the symbol of purity, are the main colours of the other three stamps in which the feeling of romance associated with Western weddings permeates.
An auspicious colour in Chinese tradition, bright red is employed for the stamp sheetlet to highlight the Chinese red lanterns and dragon-phoenix bangles on the left, and the crystal chandelier and wedding rings on the right. A couple in Chinese wedding costume and another in Western wedding attire are juxtaposed to show the harmonious integration and coexistence of Chinese and Western wedding customs in Hong Kong. The contrast is delightful.