Treasures for Tinghun: Jewelry for an Opulent Occasion
Tinghun, or Filipino-Chinese engagement ceremonies are opportunities for the families of the engaged couple to come together and wish them luck and prosperity in their journey as husband and wife. Many symbols of luck, such as dragon and phoenix decor, round fruits, cakes, angpao, the upside down hok (Chinese character for luck) and plenty of gold items in the form of figurines and jewelry, make an appearance in this event. Not only are these believed to bring prosperity. Gold, most especially, is believed to signify the couple’s financial capability to start a family.
For men and women alike, gold jewelry is the standard for tinghun, whether it be worn or gifted. Here are a few golden treasures for one memorable and opulent tinghun.
Necklace with Medallion
This is the quintessential engagement jewelry for the bride-to-be. Not only is it a bringer of prosperity and spiritual protection, it’s also a timeless and versatile piece of jewelry. A gold necklace with a hok medallion goes perfectly well with the popular choice of outfit for the occasion: sparkly gowns in bright jewel tones, mostly reds and orange. Recently, more muted pastel hues are also becoming a go-to tinghun palette. A minimalist gold medallion still makes for the perfect accessory that contrasts the muted tones.
Jewelry sets are a popular choice of gift from the man to the woman. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and pearls set in gold exude positive energy, which, culturally, is linked to fertility. With or without cultural beliefs and superstitions, jewelry sets make for precious and extravagant gifts that can become heirloom pieces in the future. Which means, they are treasures beyond the tinghun.
Men also get their share of opulent presents. Watches are a top pick as a fancy yet practical gift. Analog watches with 24k gold president bracelets, and a very high-end brand name to match, are undoubtedly a great gift for a dashing groom-to-be. Traditionally, watches are a must-give between the couple. In earlier times, the woman’s parents also gave them a matching set as part of the wedding dowry.
Tinghun can be just as dressy as weddings. For the men, crisp suits accessorized with cufflinks are a staple for the occasion. Cufflinks are a great way to personalize a suit-and-tie outfit combination and can already be worn during the event, or later presented to the groom-to-be as a gift from the bride-to-be.
As early as the pre-wedding event, which often happens around half a year before the wedding itself, Fil-Chi couples can already exchange rings at their tinghun. The rings are typically worn at the fourth (ring) finger of the left hand. It's, however, unclear whether or not these are the same rings they exchange later on at the wedding ceremony.
Tinghun may look to be nothing more than a piece of tradition designed for the couple to show off, but the stories behind everything that comes into the ceremony also shows depth and richness in culture. It’s an occasion the couple and their families treasure, beyond all the gold and longstanding traditions.