Primi Marriage and Wedding Customs

Primi society has been traditionally organised into exogamous clans with marriages arranged by the parents occurring between cross-cousins and marriage within the clan is prohibited. However today there is great variety of marriage patterns and styles, with intermarriage with other ethnic groups common in some areas while not so common in others. Some polyandry exists among the Primi.

Those that live near the Mosuo have adopted some of their men-women customs. Generally marriage is patrilocal, with men inheriting property, except in the area around Mosuo-dominated Lugu Lake and Yongning where the Primi seem to have adopted the Mosuo practice of the 'walking marriage' (See Mosuo), where husbands visit their his wife's home at night but returns their maternal home in the day to work. Also, where Primi live alongside Mosuo, it is not unusual for the two groups to intermarry.

Primis weddings have traditionally been held in slack season in winter when people are not so busy. The details are different in different places. The old custom of "marriage by capture"—a kind of "the rice is cooked" marriage—is still practiced in the Ninglang region by couples that love each other very much but are prevented from getting married. After the couple secretly work out a plan, the girl goes out to work pretending as if nothing is going to happen. The man's side sends people, whose Tibetan- Chinese astrology signs are compatible her, to follow the girl secretly, and snatch her at the right time.

When they catch the girl, they shout loudly, "Someone invites you to have tea!" The girl pretends to struggle. Her relatives who know in advance what is going to happen beforehand head out quickly to where the girl is after hearing the news, They have a fierce pretend fight with the girl's abductors. Because the bride's side overwhelms the captors with their numerical strength, the girl is taken back to her home to either hold grand wedding or prepare for one. Though the bride's parents don't agree to the marriage, they have no way out. They reluctantly give tacit consent and prepare rich food for celebrating their daughter's marriage.

"Antiphonal singing (alternate singing by two choirs or singers)" plays a big part in the corting and marriage process of the Primis in Lanping and Weixi. During a wedding there, the whole succession of events—from bridegroom going to the woman's side to meet the bride to the couple entering the bridal chamber—is accompanied by happy sound of singing songs like the "Getting Married Song", "Dressing up Song", "Becoming Related Song", "Open Door Song", "Escorting the Bride Song" and "Getting Together Song".

The custom of "long stay at parents' home after marriage" is still kept by some Primis. From the first night of the wedding, the bride and the bridegroom can live in one room, but they can't have sex for three years. On the third day after marriage, the bride goes back to her parents' home to "pay a visit back" and lives there for some time— the beginning of the the “long stay at parents' home after marriage." One year later, the bridegroom “marries” her again, but the bride run back to her parents' home secretly after staying in bridegroom's home for a few days. After another year, the bridegroom sends people to meet the bride again, and they two sides begin living tofther at that time.

The bridegroom hopes that the bride will become pregnant as quick as possible, but the bride still tries to return to her parents' home. When she is pregnant, her parents notify the man's side to hold rite of staying home, and the bride begins to settle down in the man's home. According to old tradition, women were expected to return back to their parents' home between three and seven times. If a bride settles down in her husband's home soon after they get married, this would kind of boring and would not reflect how much the bride is supposed to miss her family. In the old days, if the bride refused to along with the old rules, she was mocked by everyone.

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