¨C Traditional Miao Wedding, Huloping, China
12 photographers from the United States were invited to a special Miao wedding celebration. Huloping,
a traditional village, located in the Hunan province, provided the perfect setting for the wedding.
About Miao weddings:
Besides popular forms of marriage, there is a marriage custom called grabbing marriage among
some people of the Miao ethnic group.
There are two kinds of grabbing marriage: One is based on an agreement with each other. The other is
based on the man forcing to marry the woman no matter she agrees or not.
The former is a symbolic ceremony to show their decision to get married. The man will appoint several
friends to wait for the woman. When the woman goes out of her home, they will go off with the woman.
The womans brothers will chase the group of people, when they find she has disappeared, up to the
mans home. Then, the mans family should treat the people from the womans side, who are in the
chase, with a big feast or even give some gifts like money to them.
When the woman reaches the mans house, she will be covered by a paper umbrella. Thereafter, a
woman elder will use a rooster to circle around the woman for three rounds. It is called catching soul.
Then, the woman officially becomes a member of the mans family. Two or three days later, the mans
family will ask a third party to propose marriage to the womans parents. The womans parents will
finally agree after some fake quarrels. Afterwards, they will choose a day to hold the wedding, before
which the woman gets sent home again.
Of the two kinds of grabbing marriage, the latter is that the man asks several friends to grab the
woman and take her to his home. According to religious traditions of the Miao ethnic group, the woman
then loses the right to go back home. Days later, the mans family will ask a third party to propose to
her parents. If they agree, they can hold a wedding.
In some places, it is the custom that the woman can live in her mothers home after marriage. She only
goes to the mans to help on the farm or during festivals. But she has to be back to her mothers home
the next morning. After they have a baby, the woman can live in the mans home all the time.