For Jingpo Ethnic Minority of China, the most satisfying and preferable marriage is that a man gets married with his mother’s brother’s daughter or a match can bring two lineages together in an alliance.
When the young men and women from Jingpo ethnic group want to find their lovers, they will have an interesting gathering named “to string women”. It usually happens at night when they sing and blow the vertical flute affectionately at the foot of the mountain.
According to the marriage customs and traditions, there are four kinds of methods for Jingpo people getting married. The First one is the most common way for the couple who enter an arranged marriage when they are young and get married when they are older. The second one is wife seizing, in which the girls was seized to get married with the consent of parents of both sides beforehand. The third one is wife stealing, it happens when the boy’s parents invite a matchmaker to propose marriage to the girl, but the girl’s parents do not agree. At this time, the boy’s parents as well as matchmaker will steal his lover, hold the wedding ceremony, and at last inform the girl’s parents. The fourth one is wife snatching, in which the boy’s family prepares the wedding items well in advance, but do not inform of the girl’s family. On the wedding day, they snatch the girl whether the girl’s parents agree or not. It is believed that getting married through snatching wife can bring prosperity from generation to generation.
Wedding ceremony in Jingpo ethnic group should be arranged and prepared seriously in advance. The groom’s family should pay a bride price before the wedding by giving bride’ family buffalo, cattle, horses, gongs or palajing (a kind of silk or nylon scarf), the amount of which is determined by the number of relatives the bride has. Meanwhile, the bride’s family should give the groom a spear, knife or sword, usually half the value of the bride price. If the groom’ family is not rich and cannot pay the full amount immediately, the groom may service bride for several years.
Their wedding ceremony is held in the afternoon. The firing of three guns indicates the people escorting the bride are returning. The man’s matchmaker with a red wooden box on her shoulder and the woman’s matchmaker with new bedclothes in a basket on the back walk in front of the procession. The bride who wears a short black shirt, a red embroidered tube skirt and a pair of leather shoes go silently and shyly in the middle of the procession. There is usually an obstacle for bride on the back way. At this time, the matchmaker will give a group of girl some wine, wedding candy or money to help the bride pass through the obstacle.