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Eating Roasted Piglets on Three Home Visits

"Huimen" (literally, home visits) originated from "Guining" in ancient times. It originally referred to a traditional custom in which children return to their hometowns to visit their parents. Later, it referred specifically to the custom of newly wedded women visiting their parents for the first time after wedding. Traditionally, the groom was required to pay a visit to his parents-in-law on the third day after the wedding ceremony, and the bride was supposed to accompany her groom on such a visit. This is the origin of the custom of "the three home visits".

The custom of "home visits" differs from ethnicity to ethnicity and from place to place. In the Guangfu region, a roasted piglet is a must-have gift for a home visit.

Traditionally, parents-in-law highly valued their daughter-in-law's chastity, so did the woman herself, and the bride's chastity was considered more important than the groom's fortune. Thus, in Guangzhou in the past, a family marrying off their daughter would feel anxious until their daughter was on her first home visit since getting married. The parents would feel hugely relieved when their newly wedded daughter returned with a roasted piglet, which was considered more precious than any other gift. The delighted family would then share the roasted piglet with their relatives and neighbors as a signal of their daughter's chastity. If the daughter came home without a roasted piglet, it meant big trouble for the family, and bickering would ensue and in some extreme cases, the marriage was rescinded.

On the bride's home visit, the groom was supposed to pay tribute to his wife's ancestors. And in exchange, the bride's family would prepare a banquet in honor of their son-in-law. The bride would first present a jewelry case, a roasted piglet, golden candles and firecrackers to the bride's family, but he wouldn't come to the banquet all dressed up until he had been invited three times. Upon arrival, the bride would be presented with a red packate with cash from the bride's family. He was not supposed to talk until he had received the packet. At the banquet, the bride's brother would present louts seed tea as the first course, signaling that the couple would soon have a lovely baby. The second course would be almond tea, symbolizing fortune, followed by scented tea as the third course.

Today, as the tempo of life has quickened, the rituals of the home visits have been simplified. The bride is escorted to her groom's home first and then the groom accompanies the bride on her home visit; all these happen on the same day. And the custom of presenting a roasted piglet as a symbol of chastity has also been abolished, but the wedding banquet remains a must.

(Translated by Guangzhou Association of Foreign Affairs Translators)

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