“Cai’ente Banquet” and “Stealing Wine Glasses” of Daur Ethnic Group

According to the marital custom, after the engagement the bridegroom’s family should select a propitious day to send gifts, namely “Cai’ente” (betrothal gifts). Cai’ente includes pork, wine and pastry and is usually sent by the fiance and his senior companion to the bride’s family, who will prepare for a Cai’ente banquet to entertain the honored guests and their own kindred as well on this special day.

At a Cai’ente banquet, the fiance proposes a toast to the female’s parents, kneel before them and identify the relatives in due form. The senior presents the future bridegroom with money and qiandazi (a big cloth bag for keeping money). Both sides also deliver a congratulatory speech to each other. The companion from the male side presents first, “Your maid and our lad are connected with a long-distance marriage. At such a nice moment of a propitious day, we present our meager gifts. Young pines cypresses in the mountain are straight and strong. Handsome boys and pretty girls have grown up and have the equivalent age and expression.

With a full glass of wine, I toast the marital relation between the two families. Present brethren and kinsmen, please accept my sincere regards.” The fiancee’s father receives the wine and sings back,” For the harmony of our marital relation, you have suffered difficulty to go over such a long distance and bring the Cai’ente. Please greet your brethren for me¡­” The polished and interesting congratulations bring more laughter and jollification to the Cai’ente banquet.

At the Daur wedding, those bride companions include the best man “Huada”, bridesmaid “Huoduowo” and the brothers and male cousins of the bride “Kutulu”. After the arrival of the bride in the bridegroom’s house, the latter’s family takes special care of the distinguished guests, presenting an “Entry Toast” before their entry and after it a “Greeting toast”, which is done very meticulously for fear of any slight discourteousness. However, at the banquet “Huada” are usually fastidious on purpose. As “Kutulu” are eating and drinking they hide wine glasses, cups, bowls and plates inside their clothes so as to make fun of the bother-in-law and those present at the table. The reason is that, to the Daurs, wine glasses are considered to be the container prepared for the bride and bridegroom for measuring grains and bowls and plates baskets for food reserves.

All of them are life necessities. Therefore, if the male family finds anything missing after the banquet, they will begin to search for it. Those “stealers” have to drink a glass of wine if they are found out of stealing a glass, and a bowl of wine if stealing a bowl. The next day, while preparing to go home those companions still seize all chance to “steal” several wine glasses, bowls or plates, which are not returned until the bridegroom catches up with them and brings wine as well. Throughout the wedding ceremony there is full of happy songs and laughter, amusing and entertaining.