|Weddings in the rural areas of Northern Shaanxi (in Northwest China) Province are typically events full of hustle and bustle. During a typical rural wedding, villagers dance the 'Yangge' to the sounds of 'suona' horns. The bride, who rides on a donkey's back to her new home, smiles brightly to show her happiness. [Women of China English Monthly/ Deng Hai & Li Chang'an]|
The band begins to play as the procession reaches the entrance to the bride's village. The bride's family will lead the people to their house, where they will serve the wedding feast.
One can eat to one's content; in addition to chicken, duck, fish and meat, the bride's family serves various local foods, such as noodles made from buckwheat, mutton soup and pickled cabbage.
In Chinese culture, the color red symbolizes joy and happiness. Therefore, the bride wears new clothes — all in red, such as a red cotton-padded jacket, a pair of red trousers, socks and shoes, and a pair of red gloves — from head to toe on her "big day."
After the feast, the groom carries his bride to a donkey and, after he places her on the animal's back, the wedding procession heads to the groom's house. The wedding ceremony — at which time the couple become husband and wife — is held after the procession arrives at the groom's house.
A competition follows the ceremony; both the bride and groom try to enter the bridal chamber first, as locals believe the person who enters the chamber first will have greater say – and influence — in the family.
A warm, joyous atmosphere permeates the bridal chamber, in which the windows and furniture are decorated with red Chinese characters that connote "double happiness." A pair of red candles keep the room lit, to symbolize the longevity of the couple as husband and wife.
After the couple toasts and drink to each other, the newlyweds exchange presents; the groom usually gives the bride money or jewelry, while the bride typically gives the groom an embroidered dudou (diamond-shaped cloth worn over the chest and abdomen). The dudou is embroidered with various auspicious patterns, such as twin lotus flowers on one stalk and mandarin ducks playing on water, to symbolize a devoted couple living in peace and harmony. It also represents good luck; for example, kylin (an auspicious legendary animal with a horn and scales) sending a son, which symbolizes good wishes that the couple will have a son as soon as possible. Finally, an elder relative of either the bride or the groom, combines locks of the bride and groom's hair, and then combs it.
On the third day, the groom, with his wife, will visit his in-laws. The bride's family will hold a banquet for the newlyweds. The couple will not return home until after dark.
Please understand that womenofchina.cn,a non-profit, information-communication website, cannot reach every writer before using articles and images. For copyright issues, please contact us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. The articles published and opinions expressed on this website represent the opinions of writers and are not necessarily shared by womenofchina.cn.