Growing up Chinoy, I’m sure we’ve heard about ting huns and even been to a few of them in our lifetime. It’s an engagement announcement and a celebration for the spouses-to-be that entails a lot of preparation and offerings from both sides. But why do we celebrate it and is this tradition more Chinese or Filipino now?
Ting huns are very similar to the Filipino practice of pamamanhikan, a meeting of the families of the engaged couple that signals their full approval of the couple’s union. But it’s very much a Chinese tradition that has lasted and thrived through all the cultural shifts that have occurred since Chinese migrants came to the Philippines. In some instances, it has integrated Filipino practices that make it delightfully Chinoy.
So what are the important parts of the ting hun?
The traditional tea service wherein the engaged couple serves their families tea is a sign of respect. They introduce their partner to the family as they do so.
The iconic entry of the bride-to-be as she walks backwards into the room accompanied by her “Lady Luck.” The “Lady Luck” is specially chosen by the bride as everything she wishes to be in her married life. Traditionally, she is happy, wealthy, and blessed with many children.
The noodle and egg ceremony! The couple is served misua for longevity and sweet egg for fertility —things the couple wishes for their marriage.
The double happiness symbol is a recurring design at ting huns! It represents the happy union of the couple and their families as a whole.
Ting huns used to be an event reserved for immediate families, but lately, extended family and friends are often invited to the joyous occasion as well. Because of the increase in the number of attendees, these parties have moved from the bride’s home with food cooked by her family to hotel ballrooms or restaurants.
Now, if you’re attending a ting hun, do you have to give them gifts? It’s not required, though of course gifts are always appreciated. Just remember that if you do give gifts, always give them in pairs! Also, all edible gifts must be sweet.
Wishing all couples a happy ting hun!