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Fascinating Details: Wedding Traditions of 4 Chinese Ethnic Groups

China has many ethnic groups, and each one has its own unique wedding customs. (Image: cajfr.cn)
China has many ethnic groups, and each one has its own unique wedding customs. (Image: cajfr.cn)

China has many ethnic groups, and each one has its own unique lifestyle and culture. Some of the most charming and sacred traditions are their different wedding traditions.

Amazingly, the people have kept alive many of their ancient marriage rituals.

Let’s take a look at some of the different ethnic wedding traditions from China.

1. Dai

For the Dai ethnic group, when men and women get married, the matrilocal custom will be implemented. That means the husband is going to reside with his wife’s family. For that particular reason, the wedding ceremony is always held in the bride’s family home.

Dai people are Buddhists, so according to tradition, the couple must go to a temple and pray, requesting Buddha’s blessings for a happy and prosperous life. Then at home, they will put a tapestry on their front door, while monks chant to the new couple. A monk will then place colored silk on the wrists of the newlyweds after the chanting to bestow blessings.

Dai people are Buddhists, so according to tradition, the couple must go to a temple and pray, requesting Buddha’s blessings for a happy and prosperous life. (Image: Zhulong.com)

Dai people are Buddhists, so according to tradition, the couple must go to a temple and pray, requesting Buddha’s blessings for a happy and prosperous life. (Image: Zhulong.com)

2. Mongolian

Mongolian weddings are also rich in tradition and are held in many stages. Even before the wedding, there are several important traditions that must be observed. Marriages are arranged through a match-maker, then there is an engagement party with pre-wedding gifts and a feast, and then the wedding itself.

Mongolian weddings are also rich in tradition and are held in many stages. (Image: nihaoya.com)

Mongolian weddings are held in many stages. (Image: nihaoya.com)

After the initial ceremony, the couple returns to the groom’s home, or yurt, in a carriage which then circles around the yurt three times. Then the couple passes through two piles of burning wood to accept blessings from Vulcan, representing the purity of love and a prosperous life.

Next they greet the parents, relatives and friends, marking the beginning of two to three days of feasting and celebration. The ceremony is considered complete at the conclusion of the feast.

After the initial ceremony, the couple returns to the groom’s home, where they greet the parents, relatives and friends. (Image: elhtly.com)

After the initial ceremony, the couple returns to the groom’s home, where they greet the parents, relatives, and friends. (Image: elhtly.com)

3. Manchurian

Manchurian weddings are rich in both Han and Manchurian customs. Firstly, the couple’s parents are generally friends or acquaintances who decide that they want to form closer ties through becoming in laws. They engage the services of a match maker, who is also used on the occasions where the couple’s families may be strangers to one another.

Astrology also plays a role in these marriages, as the couple’s birth dates must be in harmony with one another. Family histories and surnames are then exchanged.

Manchurian weddings are rich in both Han and Manchurian customs. (Image: wechat)

Manchurian weddings are rich in both Han and Manchurian customs. (Image: Wechat)

The northeastern Manchurian tradition is different again, with the bride leaving her home the day before the wedding to stay with another family. On the day of the wedding, the bride’s brother will take her in a carriage to the groom’s home, which is met at the halfway point by a carriage sent by the groom.

Upon arriving at the groom’s home, the couple will face north and worship according to local tradition. The bride will hold rice and a money pot in her arms while they worship. She will then cross the threshold carrying a horse whip and a brazier, representing security and prosperity for their future.

Archery during wedding is a Manchu tradition, in order to repel evil spirits and bad luck. (Image: Chinaneast)

Archery during the wedding is a Manchu tradition to repel evil spirits and bad luck. (Image: Chinaneast)

On the morning of the third day, the couple will worship the ancestors, parents and family elders. Seven days later, the couple will return to the bride’s family home and reside with her parents for a month, which is referred to as “living on the moon.” This signifies the completion of the wedding.

A Manchu bride (Image: sohu.com)

A Manchu bride (Image: sohu.com)

Korean

It’s interesting to look a Korea too, as Korean culture was influenced by Chinese culture in the early days of it’s development.

A traditional Korean wedding is very rich and complex, involving two stages. The ceremony is generally held twice, once at the bride’s home and then again at the home of the groom. The groom will stay at the bride’s home for three days and then return to his home.

The bride will then choose an auspicious day to go to the groom’s home, and a wedding banquet will take place. The bride will meet the groom’s family on the following day, which marks the completion of the wedding ceremony.

Divorce is rare and Koreans generally grow old together.

A Korean couple wearing traditional wedding costume. (Image: t.idoido.cn)

A Korean couple wearing traditional wedding costume. (Image: t.idoido.cn)

Translated research by Ying Ming, edited by Kathy. 

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