“Love Hole” and “Basket-seizing” of Yao Ethnic Group

People of Yao Nationality advocate free love. Various festivals, fairs and idle time are good chances for young people to find their lovers through singing folk songs. Their courting activities are colorful, full of fun. Young girls of Yao Nationality in Guizhou have the custom to make a love hole on the bedroom wall when they reach marriage age. In the evening with bright moon above, her admirer will come with a stick and insert it into the love hole, expressing his love. If he happens to be the one the girl likes, she will stay beside the hole and chat with him. However if he is not the right one, she will pretend unnoticed and remain silent. Then the unlucky fellow, knowing her decline through her silence, has to leave dejectedly.

In some places in Hunan, for instance Jianghua, on the festivals or fair days, young girls of Yao Nationality often carry bamboo baskets, wondering around the fair. If a fellow finds his lover, he will take away the girl’s basket suddenly “without telling her in advance”, fill it with some cookies, and then come back to the girl. The couple will leave for a silent place and express love through singing songs there. Before their departure, the girl will take back the basket and arrange their next date, when the girl will carry the same basket. If she also admires the fellow, she will put a pair or several pairs of cloth shoes made by herself in the basket. The fellow will seize the basket as he does last time. After several times’ contacts like this, time is ripe. The fellow will carry two specially made big Yeba and Niangba (a kind of food) to the girl’s home and make his proposal. If the two bas are accepted by the girl’s parents, it means their marriage is done. Otherwise, the fellow has to continue the game of seizing basket on the fair.