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  Ethnography

The wedding ceremony of the Pu Peo ethnic group

The Pu Peo ethnic minority group has 487 individuals, living mostly in Yen Minh and Dong Van districts in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang. Some also live in Meo Vac and Bac Me districts of the province. Young couples often hold wedding ceremonies during the 11th and 12th months of the year;

When a young couple love each other and decide to hold a wedding, the young boy informs his parents about his intention and they discuss preparations for the engagement together. Offerings for the first engagement comprise a handful of sticky rice (wrapped in a square shape with dong leaves) and a boiled cock weighing between 1.5-2kg. If the offerings are placed on the ancestral altar of the young girl’s family, the proposal is accepted.

The second engagement takes place one or two weeks later. The girl’s family requires 15kg of rice, 14-15 bottles of wine, 15kg of pork, 15m of cloth, a costume of the Pu Peo women (a skirt, a blouse and a scarf), and a set of jewellery (a necklace, a wrist chain and ear rings).

If the boy’s family meets the requirements, the two families prepare for the wedding. Before the wedding, the boy’s family must again prepare offerings for the girl’s family, including sticky rice, wine and cloth. If the latter accepts the offerings, they set a date for the wedding.

Within a month, the boy’s family selects a date in the hope that the young couple will enjoy happiness and prosperity in the future. On the wedding day, the bridegroom’s delegation must make up an even number, either 14 or 16 people. They stay at the bride’s house to enjoy a party and then return to their house without staying in the bride’s house overnight.

The young couple offer incense at the bride’s ancestral altar, kneel three times in front of the bride’s parents, salute their brothers and leave. A friend of the bride’s carries the bride on her back out of the house.

Once they have arrived at the other house, the couple again offer incense to the bridegroom’s ancestral altar, and after the ceremony, the bride officially becomes a member of the bridegroom’s family. The bridegroom’s family also offers a party for their relatives and guests. All the dishes are displayed in a big basket, and hosts and guests take food by hand to show unity. After wards, the bridegroom’s relatives and friends present gifts to the young couple.

Three days later, the couple return to the bride’s family to inquire into the parent-in-law’s health, bringing with them a couple of chickens (a cock and a hen), a piece of pork and eight gu cakes. They stay there for between one-to-two days. After that, the young couple will make another three similar visits to the bride’s house within a month, bringing nothing along this time.

VOV - (26/09/2005)


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