Maonan Marriage

       Ethnic intermarriage is acceptable in Maonan. Marriages between Maonan and Zhuang or Han are common. The patterns of [Maonan ♀ + other's ♂] and [Maonan ♂ + other's ♀] are equally popular and the criteria for selecting a partner are mainly the financial condition of the prospective bridegroom and the appearance of the prospective bride, although other factors are also important. 
       Young men and young women are basically free to find their own marriage partners with the exception that a brother's son must consider a sister's daughter as the prospective wife. Nevertheless, their parents are the decision makers although more and more young people, especially those who are more competent or financially independent are having more say in their marriage. Prior to engagement, parents from both sides often visit a fortuneteller to find out if the fates of the prospective couple match, otherwise the marriage cannot go ahead. A matchmaker handles negotiation of the betrothal gifts. Only a handful of Maonan who live in the county seat of Huanjiang and have been influenced by the Chinese culture do not follow this custom nowadays.
       During a wedding ceremony, the bride is traditionally led to the bridegroom's house by the bridegroom's sister. Before departure, several female singers begin to sing farewell songs. Before going down the steps of the front door, the bride is supposed to weep and sing a song to show her reluctance to leave her parents and her gratitude to them for their nurturing care. At the door of the bridegroom's house, there are three small mock bridges made of bamboo strips and cloth. The bride is supposed to knock down the bridges, which symbolizes that she is determined to follow her husband and will not turn back. There is more singing in the bridegroom's house during the wedding.

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