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From: China Tibet Information Cenrter 2005-03-04 16:10:00
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Tests Indispensable for Marriage

It is the local tradition for the young to stay with their parents even when they have got married. In many cases, three generations live under the same roof. Sometimes, more than 20 family members live under one roof.

While most have followed monogamy in history, a small number of rich families chose to adopt polygamy. Generally, sisters would marry the same husband. In rare cases, one woman had several husbands who were brothers. Such a system was followed to cope with shortage in labor and problems related to inheritance of property.

Very few of the young people in the area enjoy freedom in marriage, the parents having the final say on choice of partner. When the marriage has been decided, both parties decide on an auspicious day for the ceremony. For those who are comparatively rich, the bridegrooms need to send horses to greet the bride under the leadership of relatives who have a glib tongue. All along the way, the one who represents the bride's side will make the procession halt while tests are given for the bridegroom's party:

"What river is to be crossed?""What rope bridge is ahead?""Where shall we rest?" Only when the bridegroom's party can reply accurately will the procession be allowed to continue.

More questions follow when the procession reaches the village of the bridegroom and before mounting the steps to the second floor. Only when all of these procedures are complete will the head of the bride's party usher her into the wedding chamber. Relatives come to offer their congratulations.

The bridegroom's side will throw a feast to entertain relatives and neighbors for three days running after the wedding. Guests come with gifts including grain, qingke wine and meat. In the evening, they dance and sing.

In the first three days of the marriage, the bride refrains from doing any labor. On the fourth, she returns to her parents, although the bridegroom will not go with her, waiting until the 10th day to reclaim her. Once back in the marital home, she will begin do household chores and field work.

However, it is the fact that the young are comparatively free in marriage, and the wedding ceremony is no longer as complicated as before.

[editor : ]
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