Wedding Gatecrashing Games. Photo by My Love Momentz

Can We Agree to Stop Torturing the Groom’s Heng Tais Already?

Ah the wedding gatecrashing games. A day when torture becomes acceptable in the name of tradition.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Chinese wedding tradition of gatecrashing, it is when the groom and his ‘brothers’ or heng tai (兄弟) go to pick up the bride on the morning of the wedding.

Arrival of heng tais. Photo by MJK Photography
Arrival of heng tais. Photo by MJKphotography. Source.

However, as tradition states, the relatives of the bride will stop the groom at the door; symbolising their reluctance to give the bride away. Unless he proves himself worthy by completing whatever challenges they have put in his way.

Drinking beer through a long straw. Wedding gatecrashing games photographed by Robin Ng Photography
Drinking beer through a long straw. Wedding gatecrashing games photographed by Robin Ng Photography. Source.

In the old days, this custom was a way to brighten up the mood of the newlyweds who may be meeting each other for the first time through an arranged marriage. Thus, the wedding gatecrashing games are regarded as an ice-breaking session for everyone involved.

Wedding gatecrashing games. Photo by My Love Momentz
My Love Momentz. Source.

Today, the task of stopping the groom at the door is done by the bridesmaids, or ji mui (姐妹). Many of whom will have been planning this session for weeks.

Welcome to the bride's parent's house. Now brush your teeth with wasabi please. Photo by Robin Ng Photography
Welcome to the bride’s parent’s house. Now brush your teeth with wasabi please. Photo by Robin Ng Photography. Source.

When a gatecrashing session is well-planned and creative, it can be lots of fun. But when the bridesmaids just want to see how far they can push the envelope, the session can resemble a medieval torture session for the heng tais than a fun icebreaker.

How much pain is inflicted, you might ask? How about an impromptu leg waxing session?

Ji Mui waxing off Hengtai's legs using waxing strips. Photo by Stories.my
Ji Mui waxing off Hengtai’s legs using waxing strips. Photo by Stories.My Photography & Videography. Source.
More leg waxing during gatecrash games.
More leg waxing during gatecrash games. Photo by Sanguinewilliam Photography. Source.

Some of the activities are just plain weird. I mean, why ask the guys to wear coconut-shell bras and g-strings? What is the symbolism in getting the guys to cross-dress, or lick whipped cream off each other’s nipples?

I’ve seen a wedding where they got all the groomsmen to strip down to their underwear and get into a hot tub together. They then had to pick up mahjong tiles with their feet in the hot tub before they could come out. All this happening while cameras snapped away.Timothy Tiah
Just before the plastic surgery session. Wedding gatecrashing games photo by Ray Eoh Photography
Just before the plastic surgery session. Wedding gatecrashing games photo by Ray Eoh Photography. Source.
Recently, at a close friend’s wedding, I was made to bite through a flavoured condom wrapped around the open mouth of a bottle of vodka wedged between the knees of another heng tai, then suck the bottle dry. Kudos, ji muis.Raphael Kok

One traditional game is called “酸甜苦辣” (sour-sweet-bitter-spicy), representing the ups and downs of married life. In this game, the groom and heng tais will eat different items representing each of these flavours.

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WKJ Photography. Source.

However, some bridesmaids may mix wasabi and chili padi and other stomach-churning ingredients together. If you need an ambulance on standby, it might be a sign that your wedding gatecrashing games have taken a turn for the extreme.

Free food tasting. Photo by Momento Wedding
Free food tasting. Photo by MomentoWedding. Source.

Thankfully, the level of wedding gatecrashing games in Malaysia are nowhere near those in China.

A bridegroom in Chongqing stopped traffic when he was tied at the wrists and paraded down a busy street in women’s underwearArticle in Her World
Wedding gatecrashing games. Photo by My Love Momentz
Not sure what’s happening here, really. Photo by My Love Momentz. Source.

So, the next time your friend asks you to become his heng tai, better prepare yourself. Useful suggestions include bringing an extra change of clothes, lining your stomach with a glass of milk, and doing stretches and warm ups.

No backup needed. Photo by Andrew Yep Photographie
No backup needed. Photo by Andrew Yep Photographie. Source.

But above all, don’t lose your cool. The wedding games are supposed to be fun, and if you play along nicely, you’ll get the groom through the door on time, and have a good time doing it. Good luck, boys!

Baby bibs, shower caps and disposable underwear are par for the course during a gatecrashing game. Photo by Andrew Yep Photographie
Baby bibs, shower caps and disposable underwear are par for the course during a gatecrashing game. Photo by Andrew Yep Photographie. Source.

 

Things always have to get weird. Photo by MJK Photography
Things always have to get weird. Photo by MJKphotography. Source.

 

Practicing for the circus. Photo by ABC Studio
Practicing for the circus. Photo by ABC Studio. Source.

 

Ice bucket challenge. Photo by Pixellot Photography
Ice bucket challenge. Photo by Pixellot Photography. Source.

 

Nutella on diaper. Photo by Vincent Pang Photography
Nutella on diaper by Vincent Pang. Source.

 

Arrival in cabaret style. Photo by Simply Benji Photography
Arrival in cabaret style. Photo by SimplyBenji Photography. Source.

 

Schoolgirl uniforms during the gatecrashing. Photo by GallerieCK
Schoolgirl uniforms during the gatecrashing. Photo by Gallerie CK. Source.

 

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