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The Tujia Ethnic Group Cry Marriage
Ten girls include the bride in the middle are crying on the eve of wedding day.
Ten girls include the bride in the middle
are crying on the eve of wedding day.
Crying marriage is a matrimonial custom that must be observed by every Tujia girl, whether she is satisfied with the bridegroom or not. Some brides begin to cry as early as two months ahead of the marriage, while others cry for at least ten days or half a month beforehand.
First, the bride cries with her mother, then with her sister-in-law. After that, the neighbors and other single women come to cry with her, all of them sitting on the bed. While the bride and one of the accompaniers cry aloud, the others weep by the side. The bride cry for her parents and siblings as well as for the relatives and friends, mainly telling her life experience and her sorrow at leaving her loved ones while also expressing her gratitude towards her parents for bringing her up. The women also scold the matchmaker, and encourage the bride.
Although usually there are fixed crying songs, the bride may improvise sometimes. Tujia people attach significant importance to the custom of crying marriage. For a Tujia girl, whether she can cry and how she cries will usually cast great influence over her identity and reputation, and have been considered as symbols of the girl's wisdom and morals.
Some girls begin to learn crying at a young age, and some parents even go so far as inviting an elderly woman to teach their daughters how to cry. When they are fifteen or sixteen years old, the girls will practice crying with their young companions, and sometimes teach each other how to cry.
According to Tujia custom, there are two ways of crying: The first way is for the bride to cry alone, and the second way is for ten girls, including the bride, to cry together. On the eve of the wedding day, the bride's parents usually invite nine single women to join the process.Two girls start the process with a poem or a song, which is followed by songs from the other companions. Most of the songs are themed on filial piety, diligence and etiquette, and the process lasts until dawn.