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Six Etiquettes The six etiquettes (proposing marriage, matching birthdates, submitting betrothal gifts, presenting wedding gifts, selecting a wedding date and holding a wedding ceremony) have been adopted in the traditional Chinese marriage customs since the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-771 BC), which shows that Chinese people attach great importance to marriage and are somewhat superstitious.
Proposing Marriage: the marriageable boy's parents asked a matchmaker to propose to a potential girl at the girl's home.
As the second marriage taboo in Chinese history, exogamous marriage emerged in the middle and late Neolithic Age, which strictly banned the marriage between blood brothers and sisters, and it only allowed marriage among different social groups.
In the exogamous marriage stage, it was very common for the brothers of the same family to marry a wife from the other group, and she would be the wife of all the brothers in the family, and vice versa.
As the first marriage taboo in Chinese history, consanguineous marriage emerged during the middle Neolithic Age, which banned a parent-offspring marriage but allowed the marriage of people of the same generation (such as the brother and sister of a family).
The representative consanguineous marriage was between Fu Xi (one of the Three August Ones and the Five Lords) and Nv Wa, who were blood brother and sister.
It was tolerated for a man to take concubines other than his primary wife, but only the upper and middle class men could afford it owing to their affluent resources.
Tolerance toward Polygamy Generally speaking, it was a traditional national policy to carry out feudalistic monogamy in ancient China, however, the traditional Chinese culture didn't prohibit or explicitly encourage polygamy (a man and multi women).In the primitive society, the ancestors of the Chinese people lived in groups and had no fixed spouses, and they had sexual relationships indiscriminately with one another.Owing to their weak gender awareness, they didn't felt ashamed and weren't bound by customs and etiquettes.Matched Social Status The marriageable age was 20 for males and 16 for females in ancient China, and an ideal standard of marriage was well-matched in social and economic status for the two families.
In the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-771 BC), the intermarriage between noblemen and commoners was absolutely forbidden by law.Submitting Betrothal Gifts: after the matchmaker informed the girl's parents that the birthdates of the couple-to-be matched, the boy's parents would arrange and submit betrothal gifts to the girl's family with the betrothal letter.