Marriage matching by Bazi (eight characters of birth time): the compatibility of the eight characters such as year, month, day, and time of birth of a couple is important when deciding to marry. It is important that this information is gathered by a marriage broker. “Matching” refers to the detailed study on whether the man and the woman’s birth years and fortune are in conflict. From this, their future marriage life could be reckoned and reasonable suggestions would be put forward to prevent an unhappy marriage.
Uxorilocal marriage: a marriage pattern in which a man moves in with his bride’s family, it is used as a familial strategy to continue family lineage.
Cross-cousin marriage: it used to be allowed among Tong, Miao, Yao ethnic groups. A girl would be allowed to marry her mother’s brother’s son. If her mother’s brother has no son, she should send some money to her mother’s brother when she is about to marry.
Exchange marriage: whenever a marriage is arranged between a daughter from group A and a son from group B, a marriage between a daughter from group B and a son from group A is also arranged. This form of marriage involves arranging a brother and sister from one family to marry a sister and brother, respectively, from another.
Procedures of a wedding: generally, there are six major procedures of a wedding, including proposal making, visiting suitor’s home, birthday matching, marriage divination, engagement, wedding date fixing. Proposal making denotes the boy’s family’s sending of a matchmaker to the girl’s family to initiate a marriage proposal, which is followed by a visit of the girl’s family to the boy’s home. The procedure of birthday matching is the process in which the boy’s family asks the matchmaker to go to the girl’s family to enquire about her Bazi. Then, the boy’s parents would send the girl’s and their son’s names and Bazi to a fortune teller to see if the marriage between the two would be appropriate. The foretelling of the luck of the marriage is called “marriage divination”. In the process of engagement, prolific gifts are presented to the girl’s family, symbolizing respect and kindness towards the girl’s family as well as the capability of providing a good life for the girl. As for wedding date fixing, the boy’s family chooses a date according to the astrological book when it will be proper and propitious to hold the wedding ceremony and then inform the girl’s family about the wedding date. The above-mentioned six procedures or stages are called the Six Etiquettes. People of ethnic groups generally do not pay much attention to the Six Etiquettes. Boys and girls use folk songs to find true love, and will then tell their parents about their engagement. The boy’s family will take gifts to the girl’s parents to initiate a marriage proposal, if the girl’s parents accept the gifts, which means that they don’t object to the proposal, the process will continue. After Bazi matching, the two sides will discuss and reach an agreement on betrothal gifts and wedding date.
Welcoming the bride to the wedding: welcoming the bride to the wedding and performing the formal wedding ceremony are conducted on the same day, which is the climax of the whole wedding procedures. On the wedding day, the bridegroom’s family welcomes the bride to the wedding in a bridal sedan accompanied by a wedding procession. As soon as the bride arrives at the groom’s home, the couple will perform formal bows. The rituals are called “bowing to Heaven and Earth”, which are conducted to gain approval of the marriage from gods, divinities, ancestors as well as from parents, older generations and relatives in the mortal world. After the bowing rituals, the couple will enter the bridal chamber.
(Translated by Yang Hong)