Wedding Ceremony of Gelao Ethnic Group

Interesting Wedding

3 to 5 days before the wedding, the bride begins to “cry for leaving”. The groom does not go to the bride’s, but sends the sedan men there before the eve. Before entering, the bride’s side holds a “door block ceremony”, including toasting, spreading the blanket, waiting respectfully, etc. There are traditional ask-and-answer words going with every procedure, which the sedan men should sing suitably, otherwise would be laughed at. On the wedding day, the bridal sedan is carried into the central hall. The bride is “pulled out” by her elder brother or uncle, kneels down before the ancestors’ tablets to offer farewell, and then is carried “by force” into the sedan, showing her reluctance for departing. The bride’s side carries the sedan out of the village, and then passes it to the sedan men from the groom’s side. Two men hold broadswords before the sedan, while colourful flags and blue parachutes are around the sedan. On the way back, it is full of the sound of firecrackers, trumpets and other instruments, which is a delightful sight. Getting the groom’s house, the bride will be dressed up again, and go to the villagers for their appreciation and amusing, in order to set up good relations with them. 

The wedding of Qilao people in Northwest Guizhou is even more interesting. The groom rides to escort the bride back, with four groomsmen, among whom two carry brooms made of bamboo, while the other two carry wine and meat as gift. The wine and meat are “robbed” midway by several strong men from the bride’s side, and immediately eaten on the hillside, which means that the bride’s side is rich and do not need this little gift. At the gate of the village, a crowd are waiting there to beat the groom with wood pieces while the groomsmen protect him through with the bamboo brooms. After the groom has entered the bride’s house, there is a cup of wine toasted to him. The groom and the bride offer a cup of wine to each other, too. After the wine, the groom holds the bride in his arms to the back of a horse, and leads the horse back on foot. The gorgeous wedding feast is divided into 2 or even 3 parts, which means the guests will have 2 to 3 different sets of dishes. The first set is tea, with fried food, nuts and fresh fruits. The second is wine, which is spirit, along with a variety of assorted cold dishes. The third one is the main feast, including two bowls of indispensable pork, as well as other boiled and stir-fried dishes of Qilao characteristics.

During the feast, there is still a special service to the guests: Za wine. Newly brewed wine is poured in a pot, the opening of which is sealed with a mixture of clay and firewood ashes. Two bamboo sticks are inserted into the pot, one curving while the other straight, and both with the joints. At the feast, the joints are cut through. People drink out of the curing stick and the air gets in through the straight one. When they are drinking Za wine, special singers perform the “roughhouse song”, to enhance the atmosphere of bliss and glee.