Customs of Nu People

Marriage and Family: The Nu people's marriage is monogamous. In old times, a small numbers of tribal chiefs and rich men had more than one wife. The Nu people adopted the sub-consanguineous marriage (people can marry others except their parents, children, sisters or brothers in a family). The custom of "marrying men" still exists nowadays. The habit of "marrying men" is similar to the Han nationality habit of "marrying into and live with wife's family", but it's quite different. When Nu people "marry men", men and women get married without considering other things (such as wealth, social backgrounds, and so forth). Men's social status does not change after they get married, which displays the influence of matriarchy (the social system that gives power and authority to women rather than men). A wedding is required when people get married, even when it's a de facto marriage (existing as a fact although it may not be legally accepted). If the couple haven't held the wedding party, they will make up for it by holding one in the future, even when they have become grandparents. The make-up wedding is held at the bride's parents' home, and the procedures are just the same.

The wedding of Nu people (Photo from mafengwo.cn)

The wedding of Nu people (Photo from mafengwo.cn)

Naming The Babies: Alongs' names are simple. They name their sons and daughters separately according to the order of their births from the eldest to the eighth (the eldest son is named Penggou, the second eldest son is named Jinduli, the third son Kun, the forth son Zeng, the fifth son Dian, the sixth son Ran, the seventh Lan, and the eighth Baliyi. The eldest daughter is named Nakele, the second eldest daughter is named Nitai, the third daughter Jianggele, the forth Na, the fifth Nianguo, the sixth Ranluo, the seventh Da'en, and the eighth Ying). If they have a ninth child, they name him or her after the thing they like, for example, crossbows or bows.

Rouruo people name their babies when they are one-month old. Some people even host a dinner party when naming the babies. The Rouruos name their babies according to the baby's birthday, the surroundings of house where the baby is born, the order of the birth among his brothers and sisters, the weight of the baby, and so forth. Rouruo people do not name their babies with names that are same with or similar to the names of the older generation. The eldest child is named Ama, the second is named Ade, the third Abo, the forth Ala, the fifth Along, the sixth Ayi, the seventh Atang. A Shi is added before the names when naming a boy, and a Niu is added to name a girl.

Anu and Nusu people share the last one or two characters of the names of their parents. They have three names in their life. The babies get their first names immediately after they are born. The first name usually means something humble, so that everything will go smoothly with the baby. When the children begin to make friends after they are 13 or 14, their friends or lovers will give them their "youth names", which are only used among his same generation or between lovers. After they get married, fathers will name their sons by adding the last or the last two characters of their own names before the names of their sons. After 1949 (when PRC was established), Nu people began to use Han nationality names, which are often given by teachers or educated parents. But they are named more randomly. Sometimes, full sisters may have several surnames, which is rare in Han nationality naming habits (Han nationality people always get the same surnames as those of their fathers').



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