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Folk customs for wedding ceremony in Mount Wutai

Updated : 2014-10-17

The local wedding ceremonies at Mount Wutai may take on diverse forms. Before the foundation of People's Republic of China in 1949, a marriage between singles first needed a matchmaker to introduce both sides before parents could give approval. The prospective couple did not have the right to make any decision. The process consisted of five steps.

First, the groom's family had to send the bride's family gifts, and both sides would sit together talking about the details of the wedding ceremony if the gifts were accepted. Then, the matchmaker would act as a go-between for the two families. Once an agreement was reached between both sides, they would exchange a lifelong declaration, which signified the engagement of the couple. The wedding date could be flexible after the engagement. The groom’s family would pick an auspicious day to send betrothal gifts to the bride's family and settle on the wedding date. The wedding ceremony normally would last for three days because it always involves a series of complex traditional rituals. Finally, the bride would invite the groom back to her family to host a wedding celebration.

Funeral rituals did not change much before and after 1949, with superstitious elements still being retained. They involve several steps, such as encoffining, a death announcement, a night watch and sending the coffin to the cemetery. Funeral ceremonies do face some changes after liberation. Though it has not been widely accepted by locals, people would occasionally wear black armbands to attend memorial meetings, with land burials still prevailing in some areas.

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