Most Chinese people would have been familiar with the title, and almost every traditional Chinese wedding, and a few contemporary ones, would need them to be there. Theirs is a profession that had its roots tracing back to the old days of ancient China. The ‘Dai Kam Jie’, known as ‘Xiniang’ in certain parts of China, or, in English, the wedding chaperon.
It cannot be denied that the role of a ‘Dai Kam Jie’ or chaperon is crucial in any Chinese wedding ceremony. This has been highlighted in the live interview session with three renowned ‘Dai Kam Jie’, who are the guests of honors invited for last week’s MBA Wedding Fair 2009, held at the Mid Valley Exhibition Center for three consecutive days.
Traditionally, the ‘Dai Kam Jie’ is a female either hired by the bride’s family, or is a relative of the bride’s side, who is considered an ‘auspicious’ lady (with living spouse and children). Nowadays, the ‘Dai Kam Jie’, also known as wedding or chaperone, is a professional practice, where the practitioners have to achieve a certain level of competency in their skills and knowledge before they could qualify to handle an actual wedding ceremony. Knowledge of the trade is usually passed down from mentors to apprentices, though nowadays, interested individuals can find such courses offered and taught by professionals as well. While the role of the wedding chaperone had always been for women, there are now men working in the profession as well, with some who are as well-known and skilled as their female counterparts. They are commonly referred to as ‘Dai Kam Gong’ or ‘Dai Kam Kor’.
There are certain criteria that one needs to fulfill as a wedding chaperon:
1- Pleasant appearances
2- Quick thinking and observant
3- Good with speech
4- Well-versed in traditions, ceremonies and important customs
Their Roles and Tasks
In a contemporary wedding, the role of a wedding chaperon can extend to being the emcee, host, as well as entertainers of the event. It actually doesn’t stray far from the old traditional roles of the chaperon, which includes keeping up the merry atmosphere and interacting with guests.
However, the most important part of a wedding chaperon is to guide the couple through all the traditional customary ceremonies and rituals, particularly during the day of the wedding. Here are some parts of a wedding that requires the help of a wedding chaperon:
- Betrothal Ceremony
- Where he or she will help prepare the items of significance for the exchange of gifts.
- He or she will arrange for the time and date for the meeting and exchange, plus preparing the necessary items.
- Installing the Bridal Bed
- Initiating the Hair-Dressing Ritual for the Bride
- Prepare all the necessary items for the wedding ritual
- The incense and candles for the prayers
- The tea for the Tea-Serving ceremony
- Other symbolic or necessary items important for the wedding ceremony
- Assisting the bride during her journey to the groom’s house
- Interacting with the guests, especially during the banquet
Aside from the above, the wedding chaperon’s gift of speech is also one of the important reasons to hire them. Throughout the ceremony, the wedding chaperon will be saying auspicious words and greetings, and if there is any uneventful happening, or a guest who came up with a less-auspicious word, it will be up to the chaperon to ‘save the day’ with another auspicious remark, while keeping the merry mood of the wedding intact.
A Must in a Wedding
As our guest speakers share their experiences with the audience, it is clear that why, even in today’s modern society, a ‘Dai Kam Jie/ Dai Kam Kor’ is as important in a wedding as before. Their knowledge in the wedding ceremonies and rituals are valuable, as with their services in assisting inexperience or busy couples in planning their big day.
For those who are looking for a wedding chaperon/ ‘Dai Kam Jie’/’ Dai Kam Kor’, feel free to refer to our Directory under wedding resources to find the most suitable candidate for the job.