Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Marriage Customs in Southern China

With all the brouhaha about marriage in the West, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that marriage has been around for thousands of years and during that time there's bound to be a custom or two that raises a few eyebrows. While the Han Chinese are the ruling majority of China, they are certainly not the most colorful when it comes to marriage. That distinction can be more readily found among the 50+ minorities that China colonized. Amy gave a short presentation on a few marriage customs found among the minorities in southern China.

        "In China there are some incredibly amazing marriage customs in some particular areas or minorities. Today I want to share some marriage customs in southern China with you.

        "First, let's pay attention to Raoping located in GuangDong province. In Raoping whether the boy is accepted by the girl's family is shown through a kind of sweetmeats called tangyuan which in English is rice dumpling. There will be five rice dumplings in the bowl. And the boy should eat them one by one. If all of them are made of sweetened bean and sugar it means that the boy is accepted. If three of them are made up of sweetened bean and sugar it means that the girl hesitates to make a decision. The worst result is that none of the rice dumplings have stuffing. Of course, that means the boy can go home now. So when the boy eats the rice dumplings he may feel like he is eating some bombs.

        "In Shuangjiang of YunNan province the girls will have their scalp completely shaved on the day of the wedding. These girls belong to a minority called La Hu Zu. They think a bear headed woman is quite pretty. And they will be very happy to attend to all the feast with their husbands. I guess what they say is true 'different strokes for different folks.'

        "Finally, let's look at another minority called Yi Zu. The girls must fast before the wedding ceremony otherwise it would be inauspicious. And they usually begin to fast 10 days before the wedding. If they are thirsty they can keep water in their mouth for a while and then spit the water out. The girl who can fast the longest time will be considered the most adamant. But, in fact, the purpose of the fast is to avoid urination or defecation on the way to the wedding ceremony or in the first 3 days of her marriage. Otherwise people of 
Yi Zu would laugh at her. [Note: all squat toilets are public]

        "What I have told is only a small part of the crazy marriage customs in China. If you are interested in this you can search on the Internet for more information. That's all. Thank for your listening."

1 comment:

  1. So, relatively speaking, the concept of getting married underwater in scuba gear isn't that weird...