Song and dance mark Lo Lo ethnic weddings

Published:  09:12 Thursday - June 22, 2006

Song and dance mark Lo Lo ethnic weddings

he traditional dress of the Lo Lo ethnic people is one of the most beautiful of all Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. Colourful triangles represent stylised barley sheaves, a symbol of the Lo Lo ethnic group.

The Lo Lo people are proud of their cultural identity. Their elaborate weddings reflect their regard for their heritage. According to tradition, the bridegroom’s family asks two men and two women – ideally two married couples – to act as matchmakers.

On a chosen day, these people bring two bottles of wine and offer to the bride’s house to propose marriage. If the bride’s family accept, they share two bottles of wine and set the date for the wedding. The bride’s family requests gifts of sticky rice, ordinary rice, port and wine for the wedding banquet and clothes and jewelry for the bride, or even bars of silver.

When everything is ready, the bridegroom’s family brings the offerings to the bride’s great uncle, who passes the gifts on to her parents. The bride’s family prepares a feast for relatives to come and share their joy. The bride is given clothes, money and other things.

The bridegroom’s family presents the offerings to the bride’s family on an odd day so that they can bring the new bride home the following day, on an even day. Even numbers are considered lucky for a couple, as they can be divided by two. Everyone sings and dances all day and night long.

The next morning, after breakfast, the bridegroom and the best man kneel before the bride’s ancestral alter, then pay respect to before her parents, great uncle and relations. The great uncle leads the bride to the groom. The bride and her family members cry to show their sorrow at her departure.

The four matchmakers lead the way, followed by two bridemaids and the bride. At the groom’s house, the four matchmakers drink and sing to welcome the bride. The groom’s parents hide so as not to embarrass the new bride.

A moment later, the bride’s great uncle and others arrive with a dowry normally with a pig, a cock, a hoe, a pan, a knife, wine, meat and steamed sticky rice – and even with a cow. The bridegroom’s family serves a great wedding banquet, which is followed by singing and dancing. The great uncle is given some money as thanks for his help.

Three days later, the couple returns to the wife’s house, where they may stay for some days. They then return to the husband’s home to live as man and wife.

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