So at some point before the wedding (about a month before), my mom is supposed to send to PL’s mum some gifts which roughly translates to “bride price”.
Different dialect groups have different customs. For my sister’s wedding, my mom asked for a whole suckling pig in line with Hokkien customs. According to tradition, when my mom received it, she had to lob off the head and the rear and return it to the prospective groom.
Don’t ask me why. I’m sure there’s a significance to this custom, but I don’t know what it is. What immediately comes to mind is the Hokkien saying, “There’s head, and there’s tail” to mean that there’s a beginning and an end end, that is there is completion or closure. Closure for what? I do not know.
More importantly, what is the groom suppose to do with the pig head and rear? I don’t know that either.
PL’s Mum also did not want to do through the whole lobbing off a pig’s head and rear either, so she turned to their dialect group’s custom. The Teochew custom was for the groom’s parents to give the bride’s parents pig trotters (don’t ask me why pigs or pork are so prevalent in these customs!). As a nod to modernity, canned pig trotters are perfectly acceptable. Which is a great convenience. And the cans have a long shelf life, so months after their daughter has been married off, PL’s parents can take down a can of pig trotters, gaze at it as a single tear trace the lines of their cheeks from their eyes to their chin as they think of their daughter in a foreign land (well as foreign as Toa Payoh is from Bedok). Then open the can and enjoy dinner.
I don’t know. Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t.
Besides the pork, it is also customary for the groom to provide the bride’s parents with some traditional cake. As many cakes as families the bride’s parents intend to invite to the wedding. The cake is to accompany the wedding invitation. However, PL’s mum had decided to do away with that. The wedding invitation will be sent unaccompanied by any kind of dessert or snack.
I like PL’s mum already!
She’s making things so easy, one might suspect she’s trying to get rid of her daughter! 🙂
Anyway, things were going so smoothly that I couldn’t help but complicate matters.
Over two weekends during CNY, I had guests over and I made roast pork for my friends. Both times, there were some left over and PL was there to meet my friends so after the first dinner, I packed what was left of the roast pork for PL to let her family have a taste. It was a small piece (probably about 100 – 150 gm) the first night. Her family (parents and brother) liked it. So the next weekend, I made sure there would be a larger piece (about 700 gm – pound and a half for the non-metric) for PL to bring back.
And they still liked it. It was not a fluke!
So now I have ask PL to ask her mum if she might prefer getting my home made roast pork instead of canned pig trotters. However, the roast pork would have to be delivered in installments as I can only make small batches. Also I think 15 kg of roast pork belly will be very difficult for 3 persons to finish. I’m thinking like 1.5 kg every month for a year. 🙂
I kinda like the idea of personalising the bride price.