Dancing to Meet the Bride and Beating the Bridegroom
The Hanis in Mojiang call themselves "Amu". Their whole wedding ceremony is permeated with dancing from beginning to end. As the wedding draws near, both the bridegroom's side and the bride's side should build a shed with bamboo and pine out of their houses separately, as the place for sending and welcoming the bride and receiving guests. On the very wedding day, the party to meet the bride leaves some people waiting on the way, and the rest follow the bridegroom to the bride's home. When they arrive at the entrance of the bride's village, crescendos of music starts from inside the village, and the party to send the bride starts their traditional dance towards the entrance. After serving the bridegroom's side wine and tea, they all dance into the village, straight to the shed. After a short rest, the new couple stand at a square table, and the bride's family, with a piece of bamboo between their two fingers, dance around the table, intending to pray to the gods to ward off calamities and send down blessings.
On the way to the bridegroom's home, the bride and the bridegroom, escorted by a big crowd, meet the other group, which has waited there for a long time. They form a circle and dance heartily with the rhythm of gong and drum, sending congratulations to each other. Then they reach the bridegroom's house together. Both inside and outside the shed, there are sumptuous feasts prepared beforehand. As soon as the guests are seated, a woman good at both singing and dancing gets up from the senior seat, singing and dancing from table to table. The host of the bridegroom's side follows closely, holding a bamboo basket with three bowls and a wine gourd on it and taking a little wine and food from every table. When the feast is near the end, a cook, holding a bamboo sieve with eight huge bowls, dances out of the kitchen to every table, and the guests also symbolically put some food into the bowls. Finally, at his order of "Time to dance," guests leave the feast one after another into circles, singing and dancing. People enthusiastically bless the new couple and urge them to be industrious and thrifty in running the household and to respect the old and love the young.
The Hanis in places such as Xinping, who call themselves "Kaduo", have a scene of comedy when meeting the bride-"Beating the Bridegroom". When the party to meet the bride arrives at the bride's house, hosts and guests begin to drink to their heart's content after exchanging a few words of greetings. The parents of both sides also eat and drink extravagantly, and chatter away on a variety of things, seemingly having forgot that it is the wedding day. After a long while, the bride, with red silk on her head and silver ornaments before her chest, appears slowly before the party, rather shy. Coming to the bridegroom, she suddenly bursts into "irritation" and beats the bridegroom right in the face with her hands. At this time, all the others start to boo and hoot. Since the bride keeps crying and beating, the bridegroom dodges around, but never strikes back. When the bride thinks she has beaten enough and suddenly smiles in her tears, the bridegroom says, "It is time to go now." At this moment, the daughter and her mother could hardly tear themselves away from each other, tightly in each other's arms, singing and crying. The sisters and brothers of the bridegroom force them apart and carry the bride away on one back, followed by the party from the bride's side. It is said that the real intention of the custom "beating the bridegroom" is to inspect the bridegroom's faith of love.
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