I've written extensively about my Ke Tseng Preparation because it was such a meaningful rite of passage for me.
In my humble opinion, the Ke Tseng is the most practical of all the Chinese Wedding traditions. It's filled with so much symbolism that if brides-to-be fully understand why they need to buy or do certain things, they will not mind the hassle of doing so.
I've heard a lot of bullcrap from store owners about the "arenola" symbolizing wholeness. I swear, every time I hear brides echoing this logic, I want to burst out in laughter!
FYI: The arenola or the enamel potty was made part of the list because in the past, not all rooms had ensuite toilets! Apart from that, there is a Ge Lai ritual where you have to sit on the potty filled with herbs so that your wounds will heal faster. This is similar to the Filipino post partum ritual where the new mom sits on a bowl of steaming guava leaves.
I got mine in white because I have no plans of displaying them. The red ones are more expensive. If I don't wish to display...what's the point of paying more, di ba?
The store owner from a store, the name of which I won't tell you, told me that there was a girl who didn't include the enamel potty in her Ke Tseng and her mother-in-law became a bitch.
I just rolled my eyes. Kalokohan!
Another thing that I loved was buying the all the small appliances. For this my mom flew in from Iloilo so that we could shop together. I could've just shopped with my then-fiancé. But I knew that this was an opportunity for my mom to share household tips.
The plates, bowls, spoons and the tub filled with toiletries are lifesavers! They symbolize the start of a new family. But, the practicality outweighs the symbolism! Imagine the convenience that have everything you need at home right after you get married.
I think that the Ke Tseng list should include rice and other food items. The family of the bride should fill the ref with basic food stuff! Now, that's practical!
(Side note: I once had a suitor who filled my new ref with all my favorite food!)
My other Ke Tseng items were bought by my friends in Hong Kong and Singapore. The red bed sheets made our room look like a motel. It wasn't that hard to get into the mood during our first night in our own room.
Another funny but beautiful Ke Tseng items are the suyod and the comb. These 2 symbolize a smooth life. What is missed out in the explanation is that: the comb and the suyod are needed in the hair combing ceremony. During the hair combing ceremony, the father of the bride combs her hair while her mother recites well wishes: children, long life, prosperity and love.
Can you imagine how emotional this ritual is???
My mother-in-law (MIL) told me that her hair combing was done during the wedding day itself, mainly for photo purposes. I think by doing it this way, they missed out on the opportunity to bond privately.
The night of my hair combing ceremony, my mom gave me her "parting words". She told me to respect my inlaws and to love my inlaws the same way as I love them as my parents. I was crying so hard that night that I was surprised that my eyes were not swollen the next day.
The Wa Hue, is the the ritual where an un-married male relative goes into the wedding chambers on the wedding night to deliver flowers and an umbrella. It sounds silly but I think this started as way for the bride's family to check up on their daughter for one last time. Remember, back then marriages were arranged.
Giving your future MIL a pair of shoes is a sign of humility. Think of the time Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The pair of shoes is a peace offering before the war starts.
Trust me, regardless how nice your MIL is, there will be a period of adjustment as you transition from girlfriend to wife.
You don't need to get a traditional Chinese shoes with embroidery because chances are, your MIL will not get to wear that. I got my MIL a simple pair of red flats. Ideally, I should've put the shoes on her feet as a symbol of my subservience.
But honestly, if you want to give your future MIL, a more fashionable kind of shoes- go ahead! It doesn't need to red! You can even get her a Ferragamo Carla Pump, Jimmy Choos or Manolos if you need to emphasize your humility!!
I'm quite surprised that May Fil-Chis go through the complete the checklist without understanding what each item or ritual is for.
Some brides simply hand the list to their moms and let their moms buy most of the items on the list.
These people who label themselves as "traditional" Filipino-Chinese do not know the meaning behind their own traditions. It's such a pity! Incidentally, these "Traditional" Fil-Chis are the same people who are against Filipino-Chinese relationships.
I hope that those who endeavor to do Ke Tseng will take this tradition more seriously. There are so many who simply pay to get the complete items. They end up not using most.
Remember each item on the list has a practical purpose. There is no need to get everything in red...especially if the color palette of your house is earth tone!
Just buy the design that you like a put a sang hee sticker.
There is really no rule on what should be given during the Ke Tseng. The family of the bride can give her whatever they think she needs.
Some families give cars. Some give house and lot. Whatever floats your boat.
I didn't get much. I don't need much. For the bags, I only got 2. One is a north face back pack because I need one for traveling. I only got one cabin size luggage because I already have several luggages and I didn't need more. For shoes, I bought a lot because I love shoes. I got everything from stilettos down to tsinelas.
So, really...there are no strict rule
Trust me, most of the items you need for your Ke Tseng are in SM! No need to go to OngPin to get all the tacky red stuff.