Following my recent theme on Chinese traditions, I decided to write about Yue Lao who is the god of marriage. Without him, there wouldn’t be any wedding. According to legend, Yue Lao appeared as an old man under the moon. He is like cupid but instead of holding a bow and arrow, he is holding a red string. If he ties the red string onto the couple, they will fall in love and get married.
In the traditional Chinese wedding custom, the bride and bridegroom walks together holding a length of red cloth with a big red ribbon in the middle. This is symbolism of their match by Yue Lao. I don’t think this has been commonly practised in Singapore.
There are many temples and shrines for the worship of Yue Lao praying for a happy marriage. Singles will pray for love or elderly parents will pray for their single children to be married.
In some of the shrines, he is holding the book of marriage 姻缘簿, in his left hand and red threads in his right hand along with a couple. In some, he is holding a red thread/ribbon. Thanks to my uncle for sharing these photos with me again!
People believe that the relationship breaks down when the red string is broken or Yue Lao had cut them off. For those who have no luck getting marry, they only have a tiny red string across their ankle that it is impossible to connect to any other person’s red string.
If you happen to travel around Asian countries, look out for Yue Lao in the temples!