As one of China’s 55 ethnic minorities with smallest population, Lhoba Ethnic Minority live in Luoyu area and neighboring counties of Chayu, Motuo and Milin in southeastern Tibet. Though their life has changed a lot the last few years and centuries, Lhoba people still keep their original tradition and their marriage ceremony is full of local distinctive features.
Boys and girls of Lhoba ethnic minority always get engaged when they are only seven to eight years old. At the engagement ceremony, the boy’s family needs to send gifts to the girl’s house, such as rice, pigs, wine and so on. They also have to continue to pay the bride-price till the boy and girl grow up to 15-16 years old. If the boy’s family paid enough bride-price, they would get married.
On the wedding day, it is the relatives of groom instead of the groom himself to escort the bride when the sun rises. Upon arrival at the bride’s house, they presents the bride’s parents hada (a piece of silk used as a greeting gift) and exchange toasts. After dressed up, the bride will leave for the groom’s home. According to the marriage rituals and traditions, the groom’s family should prepare wines to entertain bride three times on the way to their house. The first wine is prepared at the gate of the village, the second is on the halfway, and the third is near the groom’s house. The bride’s family specially invites someone with the gift of gab to receive the bride, as it is said that entertaining bride by wine is one of the difficulties during the wedding, and the wedding may goes on well when the groom’s family pass it successfully.
When the procession arrive at the groom’s house, the groom needs to drink a mouth of wine to show the wine is free of poison and he is honest to the guests, and then he offers the wine to the guests with both hands. Only when the bride has the bottom up, the relatives will let the groom meet the bride.
There is also an interesting and exciting tradition at the end of the wedding. It usually happens at the third day of the wedding when the relatives of bride have to say goodbye to the bride. After the bride sees them off, she begins to cry. At this time, the bride’s mother suddenly asks her daughter to go home with her, and the relatives of the bride will come to help them. At last, the groom’s family has to invite the matchmaker to persuade the bride’s family, and makes an apology, guaranteeing treating his wife well from now on.