Weddings are always special, and when it is a Dai village wedding, well it is additionally special. The Dai people live in Xishuangbanna, in southern China and in general retain many of their traditions. A Dai wedding lasts all day, with early morning preparation for both men and women from the village to create the most amazing feast for the whole village. There aren’t any hair dressing salons or make-up artists in Dai villages, however that doesn’t stop the bride from wanting to look beautiful.
The wedding proper starts when the groom arrives with his family and fellow villagers. They carry gifts and food for the bride’s family. The old men from both villages enter the marriage room with the young couple (women not allowed for this!) and the marriage ceremony begins with agreement from all the elders present. The couple are tied together symbolically with white string, and each elder wraps a piece of string around the wrists of the bride and groom. After these formalities it is eat and drink time. Three servings of lunch are held, with everyone sitting on tiny stools around a bamboo table filled with the fruits of the morning’s work. After these servings are finished, everyone heads off to the groom’s house, for another three servings of lunch. Dai weddings are very filling!
Just before dusk, there is a general exodus of well-filled wedding guests who have had a wonderful day.