Marriage Customs in China
Nowadays, the idea of marriage seems quite natural to most people, however it is not always been so. During history, man had no concept of love and no concept of institution of marriage. From the beginning of human history (3 000 000 B.C) to the end of matrilineal society (in 5000 B.C.) the history of marriage transits from group marriage, polygamy, to monogamy stage. Each stage has its own development, transition and evolution. Most of all these marriage traits disappeared, but in some areas in the World, they still remain untouched.
Long Sen- Lin produced a documentary about the ‘Amazing marriage customs’ in China. From the arranged marriages to the group marriages - in one hour and a half - the viewer is walked through all marriage customs. The movie presents in a simple, clear, ethnographic way, moments of marriage: by parents arrangement, by force, by woman choice, by duty and many more. He explains how a marriage is consumed at 12 years old, he talks about sex before marriage, sex freedom in marriage, group marriage (a wife and two husbands, a husband and many wives, for wives and 6 husbands ), searching for sex partners and marriage.
When girls would approach the maturity age (18th), they would announce a naked bath in the river and invite men to see them. Men would watch the nude beauty of each girl and choose one for marriage. He will offer her a gift and so, the two would make a couple since. Another example is given by another Chinese tribe where after marriage, a man will never sleep in the same room with his wife/wives, but at his lover’s place. His wives would sleep with lovers too in their bedrooms. The most interesting moment is when the lover is coming inside wife’s home and her husband is greeting him offering drinks, then they all wash their feet in the same van. The wife retreat herself in her bedroom with her lover and the husband is going himself to meet his own lover. If the husband would not have a lover to sleep with, he will stay over the night in stable with animals.
If nowadays, the man should propose a marriage, the things would not be always like that. For example, when men were ready for marriage, they would dance and sing for girls, and the girls would choose who they want to marry with. Another custom is saying that the girl will prepare a rice cake and give it to the one who is interested in marrying her : if the cake will have a piece of corn inside, this means that the girl wants an umbrella as a present, if the cake has inside two sticks linked between, this means true love. At the end, if the cake is empty, this means that the girl is not interested. Another example is given by another tribe in China where girls can have intercourse since 12 freely until they decide to whom to settle down and form a family. Long Sen-Lin ends his film saying that nowadays, there is even more difficult to find a partner for marriage. People try to find their soul mate on marriage websites, marriage clubs, they make paper announcements, etc.
The harmonious union of love in marriage is the result of thousands of years of evolution. Some people believe that our present system will continue, other think that the marriage customs, like many other life moments are in a continuous flux. Of course that nothing is absolute certain. What will the future bring? Judging by the history changes, your guess is good as mine, good as Long Sen-Lin’s guess.
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