Traditional Customs of Deang Minority

Monogamy is practiced. People of the same clan do not marry with one another. Intermarriage is rare with people of other ethnic groups.

Young people have the freedom to choose their own partners, and courtship lasts for a long time. When a girl hears a love song under her window, she either ignores it or responds. If she likes the boy singer, she tosses a small blanket down to him. Then she opens the door and lets him in. The boy covers his face with the blanket, enters her room, and meets the girl by the side of the fire. The parents are happy and do not interfere.

The Deang bride. (Photo from mafengwo.cn)

The lovers often meet and chat until midnight or dawn. After a few dates, the boy gives her a necklace or waistband as a token of his love. The more waistbands a girl gets, the more honored she is. To show his devotion, the boy wears earrings. The number she gives him is a mark of her love.

If the courtship goes well, the boy would offer gifts to the girl's family and send people to propose marriage. Even if the girl's parents disagree, the girl can decide for herself and go to live in the boy's house.

The Deang bride and her bridesmaids. (Photo from mafengwo.cn)

A Deang wedding party is gay and interesting. Each guest is sent two packages, one containing tea and the other cigarettes. This is an invitation. They bring gifts and firecrackers to the bride and groom.

The new couple first enter the kitchen and put some money in a wooden rice tub. This means they have been nurtured by the cereal, and now show their gratitude. Water-drum dancing is an important part of the wedding ceremony. The drums are made of hollowed trunks into which water is poured to wet the skin and center to determine its tone. Water-drum dancing has a legend behind it. In ancient times a young Deang man's beautiful fiancee was snatched away by a crab monster. He fought the crab, vanquished it, ate it, and made a drum of its shell. At today's wedding ceremonies, water-drum dancing symbolizes true love.

The Deang bride and bridegroom. (Photo from mafengwo.cn)

The Deang family on the wedding. (Photo from mafengwo.cn)



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