Apparently, at the Proposal Meeting (of the parents of the bride-to-be and her groom), the bridegroom’s family will present the bride’s family with a live goose. The bride’s family should not kill the goose and eat it, because the goose represents the groom. If the goose is quiet when it is given to the bride’s family, it indicates that the groom has a good personality. If noisy, it indicates that the groom is quick-tempered. The bride’s family should leave the goose in a pond.
We would be delighted to know if the charming account above is an accurate description of a Chinese betrothal custom – and indeed any ideas as to whereabouts in China the photograph (JC-s10) might have been taken. The image is from a glass hand-coloured magic lantern slide prepared by the Bureau of Visual Instruction, Chicago Public Schools, USA. It is estimated that the date the photo was taken would be in the 1920s or 30s? The bird on the upturned table may not be a goose – rather, it might be a Tundra swan (Bewick’s swan or Whistling swan; Cygnus columbianus)?