Japanese Culture



Yui-no - Part of a Traditional Japanese Wedding

ObiOnce both families agreed in marriage, both families would meet at a formal dinner on an �auspicious� day in the Japanese almanac. �Yui-no" (engagement) gifts are exchanged. The main gift for a bride-to-be is an �obi� (a kimono sash), which represents female virtue. An example of an Obi can be seen on the right.

A  "hakama" skirt is given to the groom-to-be in representing fidelity. In addition to the �obi� and �hakama�, the exchange of gifts may include as many as nine items, which traditionally symbolise happiness and fortune. These include:

  1.  �Naga-Noshi� � abalone shell widely used in Japan to make crafts and gifts � to express sincere wishes from the giver

  2.  �Mokuroku� � the list of gifts exchanged in the engagement

  3.  Money

  4.  �Katsuo-bushi� - dried bonito (a highly valued preserved food ingredient used to make soup stock) � to wish the couple a lasting marriage

  5.  �Surume� - dried cuttlefish � it is given for the same reason as �katsuo-bushi�, to wish the couple a lasting marriage

  6.  �Konbu� � known for its ability to breed � to wish the couple many happy and healthy children

  7.  �Shiraga� or hemp � its strong fibres are used to symbolise the wish for strong family ties. "Shiraga" also means white hair. Hemp is therefore used to wish the couple many years to come

  8.  �Suehiro� � a fan � it opens from end to end and is given as a wish for happiness and a bigger and better future

  9.  �Yanagi-daru� - a wine cask � money may be given in place of the wine cask for the purpose of purchasing "sake" wine

  10.  "Sake" casks � unlike usual sake casks which are usually made from "sugi" (cryptomeria), sake casks exchanged in the engagement dinner are made from "yui-no" (willow trees with tender leaves). �Yui-no� sake casks is meant to symbolise a pledge for obedience and gentleness in marriage

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