The Unique Marriage Customs of Sanjiang Dong Minority during Chinese New Year
2015-02-05 Selina Ou Activities Liuzhou 1020
Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County is situated in north of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It has several traditional Dong minority villages and is home to the largest population of Dong people in China. The beautiful natural scenery and rich folk customs have made Sanjiang County a hot tourist spot to get to know the Dong ethnic group. Dong featured attractions of wind and rain bridges, drum towers, and houses are commonly seen. What’s more interesting are the rich folk customs and various festivals local Dong people have.
Festivals of the Dong minority like Duoye Festival, Firecracker’s Festival, and Bullfight Festival are very popular. Also there are many customs that are unique and interesting, especially those customs that Dong people have when celebrating the Chinese New Year. During the Chinese New Year, what attracts people most is the marriage custom which has become a major attraction for tourists due to its grand scene and unique rituals.
Most of the young people of Dong minority marry during the Chinese New Year. A marriage usually starts with the mysterious “steal bride marriage” when the groom invite several close friends to visit the bride’s house and ‘steal’ the bride back to his home at Chinese New Year Eve. Then the groom and bride will have their wedding at the second day of Chinese New Year.
The highlight of the local marriage custom comes the third day of Chinese New Year. It is called Huimen and it is the grandest ceremony of a Dong wedding. Huimen means escorting the bride return to her mother’s home at the next day of the wedding. During Huimen, the groom is not allowed to accompany the bride but his relatives and friends will carry wedding gifts like sour fish, sour pork, sour duck, sticky rice and other local food to escort the bride and parade to her parents’ home. The bride will walk behind of the group with a cloth in her hand so that people could recognize her as the bride. The bridesmaid is a girl from the groom’s village but she is not allowed to enter the bride’s parents’ home when they arrived and has to go back home immediately.
On the way to the bride’s parent’s home, the group usually choose routes where have many people. Every village they pass through, they will set off firecrackers to show good luck. When arrived, the bride’s parents will make tea for every guests, which is called wedding tea. In the evening, an activity called ‘Zuoye’ will be held when the unmarried youth from both the groom’s and bride’s village sitting together to chat and see if they will find their future partners.
The Chengyang Scenic Area that has the famous Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge is renowned for the group wedding held during the Chinese New Year. When there are more than 50 brides parading to their parents’ home with a large crowd of people, the scene is really exciting and interesting.
Besides the marriage custom, Dong people also have many other activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The “Thieves Driving Festival”, Lusheng Singing Competition, and Hundred-Family Banquet are very popular activities during the Chinese New Year. To get to know and experience the unique folk customs of Dong Minority, do not miss the opportunity to Sanjiang during Chinese New Year.
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