Open Question: Chinese Superstitions

Hello everyone at WeddingBee!

I have a question that I hope to get some insight on. MY FI and I hope to get married sometime in the middle of next year The date has not been set. My mother is gung ho and is trying to do everything super Chinese…in spite of the fact my FI isn’t. She bought up a point that, traditionally with the Chinese, when there is a death in the family (she is worried that may happen next year since both my grandmothers are quite old), the wedding must be postponed for 1000 days (or 3 years). She insists that if either one of my grandmothers passes away, that I have to postpone the wedding.

Now, to me, this is just not practical. After all, if invites are out and venues and things have been booked, to postpone for three years is asking too much. My FI and I have been dating since our first year of university. We would like to get married and yet I am afraid our refusal to postpone a wedding will cause some family rift.

I was wondering if any of the bees or readers are worried about this problem? Or perhaps, if such an unfortunate event was to occur next year, what we can do? I should also add that my mother and father are very inflexible to any suggestions made by me.


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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Tha, Guest @ 2:08 pm

    I’ve heard of that from my parents, but i think there is a “clause” in that rule that if the wedding happens with in a certain # of days of the death – it’s still ok to go forward – so you might have to move it up instead of postpone – but I would double check an elder on that rule. good luck

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Bluebear, Guest @ 2:12 pm

    My grandfather is very ill as well and while I am luckier to have understanding parents who say go ahead with it, I wanted to ask my grandfather. It may or may not work, but maybe if you get the blessings from the both of them, you could then tell your parents that it was their wish that you carried on regardless of what happened. I know it’s a difficult scenario to consider, but things happen and really, your parents may stand their ground now, but when it comes down to it, the investment of time and money may make them softer. Good Luck!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    L, Guest @ 2:20 pm

    I don’t know if you’ve already tried this but you should explain to them how it wouldn’t make sense financially. You should present all the reasons you think would work for you to get married next year, preferaby dealing with finances. Chinese people are cheap too (I’m Chinese myself, sorry if I’m being offensive but it’s true!) and if it’s going to be a waste of money to postpone the wedding, they’ll be more understanding. And if they want you to wait a while before setting a date or planning your wedding, tell them how much money you’d save on insurance, being able to invest in a house sooner, having a head start in building financial stability for your future family, etc. If it were my parents, the thought of wasting money would make them think otherwise.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Bkb, Guest @ 2:35 pm

    My suggestion is to have a civil ceremony well before the actual date of the reception. Then you technically would already be married by the time the reception rolls around. People do this all the time just so they won’t get married in a bad luck year according to the lunar calendar.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Vicki, Guest @ 2:37 pm

    I was worried about this problem too, but am trying to not think about it. If something happens, then we will discuss it.

    My fiance’s grandmother just passed away actually (he is filipino, not chinese). My family said that was ok tho…blah.

    I have also heard of the clause of if you get married shortly after the death it is ok. But I don’t know the exact clause. Also, in my family the rule was not 3 years, it’s 1 year. Funny how the rules are different depending on which chinese family. Good luck!

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Jane, Guest @ 2:42 pm

    a friend of the FI was in a somewhat similar situation where his mother was extremely ill. when they realized she may not survive to see the wedding, the couple had a private ceremony at home where a JOP performed the marriage with the mother present. then they had their wedding (techinically a renewal of vows) and reception a few months later on their scheduled wedding date.

    sadly, the groom’s mother passed away shortly after the private ceremony. :(

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    lanamia, Guest @ 2:48 pm

    I don’t think it will cause a rift if you don’t wait. The reason your mother is concerned with this superstition is because she doesn’t want you to have bad luck in your marriage. If her real issue is a question of respect for those who might pass, postponing a year would suffice. I have heard postponing for 100 days, not 1000.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that if your whole family is traditionally superstitious in that sense, even if you hold the wedding, your relatives may not come. When my grandmother passed away, I skipped out on 2 weddings, a baby shower and a birthday because they fell within the 100 day mark of her passing and I didn’t want to bring bad luck upon those people. Your family might just do the same.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    steph, Guest @ 3:36 pm

    my grandmother just passed away a couple of weeks ago and my wedding is already booked for september 2007. I talked to my family, and I can still get married, I just wasn’t allowed to do all the traditional “family” things during her funeral (wearing the white cloth on my forehead, carrying my grandma’s things during the funeral, etc…) So maybe you can talk to your family, and come up with something.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Amy, Guest @ 5:27 pm

    My sister’s fiance grandmother had passed away about 2 or 3 months before the wedding and his family insisted on consulting a fortune teller who said since the grandmother new about the wedding and they had an engagement party they were still allowed to get married which they did .. however his cousin was not allowed since they didn’t have an engagement dinner to announce the marrige so she has to wait 1 yr.


  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Paige, Guest @ 7:30 pm

    Thank you all so much for your comments!

    I am worried about this, but I do hope that both my grandmothers can be present for my wedding! I did read somewhere too that you postpone 100 days. Regardless if it’s 100 days or 1000 days, I am still going to have trouble explaining it to my FI’s family, who are not Chinese. They already find it amuzing that my paretns are insisting on seeing a fortune teller to pick a date. My mother even exclaimed that if our birthdates are not compatible, that the wedding has to be called off!

    I tried to approach them w/ the angle of wasting much (as per L’s suggestion) and my parents said, “Oh well. We rather have you waste money, than to have a bad marriage”!

    I wished I was as lucky as some of you, who seem to have more understanding parents when it came to a love one’s passing away…The thing is, I guess I should’ve mentioned to that my parents don’t really want me to marry my FI since he’s not Chinese and I feel that they are trying to pull every trick in the book to make this wedding not happen. When I told them that I was engaged, my parents were furious that he didn’t do it the “Chinese way”, that is, having potential groom side request a meeting w/ potential bride side. They are not making all sorts of crazy demands and I have tried to explain to them that they have to compromise b/c FI is not Chinese. Then my mother brings out the death and postponing wedidng thing. Anyhow, the wedding is going to be a challenge. Makes me wanna cry.

    I appreciate all your comments.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    sky2, Guest @ 8:17 pm

    I am not Chinese but marrying someone who is. My FI’s grandfather is now seriously ill and we are less than 100 days from the wedding.

    My FMIL simply gave me all the wedding gifts now, so that she doesn’t have to do it during the mourning period. As far as I know both the American and Chinese weddings will go forward as scheduled.

    Maybe you could tell your parents that you don’t want to wait that long to have kids? Having grandchildren probably means more to them than money :)

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Anita, Guest @ 8:39 pm

    As far as I know, there is a 3 month mourning period. I would think that as long as it’s out of that period then it should be okay. I like Bkb’s idea.

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Plum, Guest @ 11:53 am

    I agree with Bkb as well – good luck and I hope everything works out!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    waxon55, Guest @ 10:08 am


    There’s something I found out about Chinese traditions that may help you justify your case with your parents. Depending on what age your grandmothers are, their passing may not be regarded as something bad if they live to be over 80 years old. Having such longevity is often interpreted as a full, prosperous, and complete life. In such instances, even though there will be some grief, the mourning is much abbreviated. You may want to try this angle with your mom – it’s worth a shot.

    By the way, is there any change your family is Catholic? What I’m trying to say is, you know how many days it took Jesus to ressurect.

    BTW, for all those out there, what is the general rule regarding forbidding guests to attend when there’s been a death in that guest’s famil? Any insights on this will be much appreciated.

  15. Member
    paddlegirl 2 posts, Wannabee @ 7:02 pm


    My understanding is if an immediate or significant family member dies (parent or sibling), it’s a 100-day mourning period and you’re not allowed to:
    – Attend any celebrations
    – Visit anyone’s homes outside of your immediate family
    – Celebrate any birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or holidays (e.g. Chinese New Year, Autumn Moon Festival, etc).

    Note: Not sure if holidays extend to Western holidays like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.

    The logic behind this waiting period is that the family is to mourn for the deceased family member and that their journey into heaven will be 100 days. All the remaining (living) relatives need to focus their attention on helping that loved one pass through purgatory (Chinese style) and into heaven. Since its our heavenly ancestors that help us out here on earth, it’s our duty to help our deceased ones get into heaven to ensure that the family is OK in both areas (heaven and earth).

    Hopefully that sheds some insight for your in-laws.

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Doubt, Guest @ 9:33 pm

    My Father’s mother has passed away about a weeks ago and now my mother’s mother has just passed away.

    I heard that all of us cannot attend my mother’s mother’s funeral.

    Please reply this message as soon as possible if you know something about this.

    Thank you in advance.

  17. Member
    AmandaAtChineseWedding 33 posts, Newbee @ 11:39 pm

    Doubt, refer to the followings:
    Maybe you can find the answer to pyur question.

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