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Wedding customs of the White-Trousered Dao ethic group

TQO - Like other Dao ethnic branches, the traditional marriage customs of the White-Trousered Dao in Tuyen Quang Province also include many steps with complicated rituals.

Step 1, age-checking ceremony: The groom's family brings wine, betel and areca to the bride's house to ask for checking the ages of the couple.

Step2, betrothal ceremony: The groom's family brings the offerings to the bride's house to inform the results of the age-checking and discuss about wedding presents and the wedding letter.

Step 3, asking to receive the bride: The groom's family brings half of the wedding presents, including cash and offerings, to the bride's house. The bride's family accepts their offering and the two families reach an agreement on the wedding date.

Step 4, wedding ceremony: This is the most important ritual of the marriage:

On the day, the groom's family arrives at the bride's house at sunset. Two men who disguise themselves as women, cover the groom's head with a red "Ao dai" (Vietnamese traditional long dress) and let him to wait at the foot of the stairs while the bride hides in a neighbour's house.

Photo caption: Wedding ceremony of the White-Trousered Dao.

Meanwhile, representatives of the groom and bride's families exchange duet songs. Some young men wire their belts around the stairs and close the door to prevent the bridegroom from going upstairs. At night, two young women remove the belts and open the door for the groom to go upstairs. The two men who have disguised themselves as women take the groom to the bride's room.

The bride returns home from the neighbour's house, and the groom takes off his Ao Dai from his head to see the bride. The bride's family brings a food tray to their room. The couple have dinner quickly, then the groom goes out to greet his wife's parents and relatives, and then presents his mother-in-law with a silver bracelet. All participants enjoy the banquet while singing until morning.

The next morning, the bride dresses herself in white pants, a new shirt inside, an old red shirt outside and wears a hat before heading to her husband's house. At the first T-junction, she takes off her old shirt and gives it to her parents. Upon arriving the groom’s gate, she covers her face with the flap of her red shirt. On the first night, the bride is not allowed to remove her hat or new shirt. The next day, the bride gives back her shirt and hat to her mother. About 10 days later, the young couple go to the bride's house to stay there until they have a baby and then return to their husband's house.

Mai Linh

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