home> Nationalities in Northeast China and Inner Mongol> Ewenki Nationality  

The outdoor wedding and "Fire of Joviality"

The matrimony of Ewenki hunters includes three phases: courtship, betrothal and wedding. When the wedding is approaching, the bridegroom has to move his house to a place neighboring to the bride's house, however far he lives. On the wedding day, the bridegroom will take 10 reindeers as presents to the bride's, accompanied by his parents, other relatives and friends, and the bride have to receive the bridegroom with the same procession. When they meet, the bride and the bridegroom will hug and kiss, and give each other the presents. Then everyone go into the tent to enjoy a feast. The wedding won't be held until the night when people finish the feast. What is interesting is that the wedding is held outdoors, not indoors. On the occasion, they will clear a ground in the river valley to light a bonfire named "Fire of Joviality". People then will cluster round the bridegroom and the bride, push them from the tent to the bonfire. They will gather round the bonfire as a half-circle, and the old who preside the wedding will declare that the wedding begins. The Minister will pour the wine into two birch bark cups, and hand them to the bridegroom and the bride. They will spill the cupful wine into the fire, to show their respect to the Fire God. Then they will propose a toast to the parents of each other. Then the newlywed will hug and kiss, and every one that attends the wedding will sing and dance in a circle, hand in hand, throughout the wonderful night. The Ewenki call this kind of singing and dancing as the dance of "Fire of Joviality". The movement is grand and powerful, now they raise the arm and twist the waist, now they leap and dance to their hearts' contents. With a leading singer, everybody joins in the chorus. Singing goes with dancing, and dancing comes along with singing, quick or slow, high or low. Everyone is exultant in the singing and dancing, and nobody will return until they have enjoyed thoroughly.

Celebrating the harvest: "Mikuolu" <<