Brides should not step on doorsill so as not to offend the door god. Brides wear clothes without pockets to avoid taking away their families’ luck of wealth. Gifts for newly married couples should be in even numbers. Family and relatives of the bride and the groom should not stay in the same room before the wedding, which is believed by locals to lead to the decline of the bride’s family. It is a taboo for the party on the way to collect the bride from her parents’ home to meet another party with the same purpose. If two parties do meet each other, two brides should exchange their hair pins immediately. It is also a taboo for the party accompanying the bride to meet a funeral procession. A remarried widow needs to leave her parents’ house and walks a certain distance and then get picked up by the sedan or car sent by the groom.
Taboos for pregnant women
No construction work should be carried out near the family with a pregnant woman. The worry is that it will somehow affect the baby in utero. Pregnant women should not attend weddings or funerals. For Dong people, it is a taboo for pregnant women to enter the bridal chamber, make wine and collect herbs for medicine. For Tujia people, pregnant women observing wedding ceremony and watching others make tofu is considered as a taboo.
Taboos related to child birth
Giving birth to a child at the home of the mother’s parents is a taboo. Pregnant women and nonrelatives should not enter the mother’s room, especially when carrying metal wares. Dong people hang chicken feathers tied with a grass stem and a piece of cloth on the front door of the house to let nonrelatives know that their visits are not welcomed at present. A mother should stay at her room for three days after giving birth to a child and can enter the kitchen seven days after the child birth. She should not visit other people’s houses, nor go to any places near a well.
Taboos in Dong villages
On Spring Sheri, namely the fifth Wuri after Start of Spring (the traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar cycles, and Start of Spring is the first one of the year), fetching water, digging and sweeping floor are taboos. If water is needed, it can only be carried home by two people, which shows that locals cherish water. Women’s trousers should not be hanged over a door or a corridor. Don’t wear white clothes to attend a wedding ceremony, a birthday party and a Sanzhao feast. Nor should one wear red when attending a funeral.
(Translated by Yang Hong)