Marriage and Wedding Custom of Pumi Ethnic Group
“Long stay at parents’ home after marriage” and “Returning to parents’ home for several times after marriage”
According to traditional custom, wedding of the Pumis is usually held in slack season in winter. The details are different in different places.
The old custom of “marriage by capture” is still kept in the Ninglang region. “Marriage by capture” is a kind of “the rice is cooked” marriage which is adopted when young couple is prevented from getting married. The two sides discuss the wedding day secretly at first hand. When the day comes, the girl goes out to work pretending as if nothing is going to happen. The man’s side sends people, whose birthday can be compatible to that of the girl’s, to follow her secretly, and snatch the girl away at the right time. When they catch the girl, they shout loudly, “Someone invites you to have tea!” The girl pretends to struggle, her relatives who have got ready beforehand hit out quickly when hearing the news, and they have a fierce fight with people who come to meet the bride. Because the bride’s side overwhelms with numerical strength, the girl is taken back and is escorted by people to home to hold grand marriage. Though the bride’s parents don’t agree to the marriage, they have no way out at the moment. They can only give tacit consent to the reality and prepare rich food for celebrating their daughter’s marriage.
Marriage of the Pumis in Lanping and Weixi is held in sound of “antiphonal singing”. During the whole process from the bridegroom going to the woman’s side to meet the bride to the couple entering the bridal chamber, happy sound of singing, like “Marry song”, “Dressing up Tune”, “Becoming Related Tune”, “Open Door Tune”, “Escorting the Bride Tune” and “Getting together Tune” is continuous and the wedding is filled with joy, happiness and good luck.
The custom of “long stay at parents’ home after marriage” is still kept in the marriage customs of some Pumis. From the first night of the wedding, the bride and the bridegroom can live in one room, but they can’t have sex in three years. At the third day after the marriage, the bride goes back to her parents’ home to “pay a visit back” and lives there for a long time which is the beginning of the life of long stay at parents’ home after marriage. One year later, the bridegroom should go to marry her again. But the bride run back to her parents’ home secretly after staying in bridegroom’s home for some days. After another one year, the bridegroom sends people to meet the bride again, and they two sides begin a real marriage life since then. The bridegroom always hopes that the bride could be pregnant as quick as possible, but the bride still tries to return to her parents’ home. When she is pregnant, the parents of her notify the man’s side to hold rite of staying home, and the bride begins to settle down in the man’s home. According to old tradition, women should at least return back to her parents’ home for three times, or even seven times. After people of the man’s side meet her and take her home, she will run back to her parents’ home. If the bride settles down in the husband’s home soon after they get married, this would be an inglorious event. This kind of marriage is called “returning parents’ home for several times after marriage” by the local people. Affected by the traditional custom, even if the woman wants to settle down in husband’s home, she should be met and married for four times according to the old rules, or she would be mocked by everyone.