There are about 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam. They make the wedding traditions and Vietnam culture relatively diverse. Some of them, which are going to be disclosed today, are unique and peculiar.
1. Sleeping at the bride’s house 5 times before the wedding
Muong ethnic group wedding (Source: Google)
This is an age-old custom of Muong ethnic group. A man is allowed to sleep at the house of the woman he likes when he comes of age. The single woman will light up her room at night. And this is considered a sign for the man.
During the sleep-over, they can only talk without physical contact. After 5 times, if both of them like each other, the man will come to the woman’s house and arrange a wedding.
2. Choosing a wife by spanking her
Hmong ethnic group wedding (Source: Google)
In other countries, smacking a woman’s buttock may get you arrested. However, in Vietnam culture, particularly the traditions of the Hmong ethnic group in Ha Giang Province, the action means that you are going to get married.
On the morning of the New Year’s Day, Hmong men will gather around the yard at the center of the village and start looking for their lifelong partner. If a woman accepts a man, she will begin running and that man will chase after her. If she gets caught and spanked, a wedding is about to be celebrated.
In fact, this is only a formalistic custom for couples to get married. Those who participate in it have already known and loved each other before.
3. Living with the bride’s family for three years
Tai ethnic group (Source: Google)
For a Tai ethnic man, getting married is a long-term challenge. First, he has to inform the bride’s parents about his intentional wedding. Then, he will move into the bride’s house for three months and only gets to live in a room for guests.
After that, if the bride and her parents agree to the marriage, the man can come back to his home and tell his parents. From this moment, he will live with the bride’s family for three years. And only by doing this can a wedding be celebrated. Also, unless a formal ritual to escort the bride to the groom’s house is performed, he will continue living there for 1 to 10 years after the wedding.
4. The groom’s family stay overnight at the bride’s house
A ritual of Ma Cong people (Source: Google)
Similar to the Tai ethnic group, the grooms of the Ma Cong local groups have to overcome challenges to win the bride. Nevertheless, they only have to put up with them for a night.
The groom’s family will come to the bride’s home before the wedding. When entering the house, they are only allowed to sit in the left corner close to the main door. The bride’s family often prepare 5 to 7 jars of ruou can (fermented rice wine drunk through pipes) to treat them.
In the evening, the groom’s family receive a blanket, two pillows, and a new sedge mat from the bride. And the parents of both families will enjoy their meal all night before deciding the proper time for the wedding.
5. Weddings can be celebrated on only two days in a month
Due to a large number of ethnic groups, Vietnam culture varies from region to region. In Yen Lac Town of Vinh Phuc Province, there is one wedding tradition that no other places have.
Particularly, the wedding here can be held on only two days in a month, which is the second and sixteenth day of the Lunar Calendar. Furthermore, there are some unique regulations, such as no stage, no pavilion, and no music. On these days, all of the residents in the town will be off from work and attend the weddings. This is why weddings can be compared to monthly festivals here.
6. Celebrating a wedding twice
Pa Kôh ethnic group (Source: Google)
The Pa Kôh ethnic group living in Quang Tri Province has a custom of celebrating a wedding twice. The first time is when the groom brings luxurious gifts, such as buffaloes, cows, pots, and wine, to the bride’s house. After the bride has shown herself to the groom’s family, the newlywed has to go back to the bride’s home and perform a special ritual.
The second time occurs when the married couple organize the Pầy Ploh ritual, which means “a complete ending.” It is held a while after the wedding.
7. Women ask men’s parents for their permission to marry
Rhade ethnic group wedding (Source: Google)
Because the Rhade ethnic group are matriarchal, the women have great authority over their life and family. They are allowed to decide everything, even their marriage. This is different from the tradition of most ethnic groups in Vietnam.
The wedding of the Rhade people is celebrated in two days. The bride’s family takes care of every task. And after that, the husband has to live in his wife’s house and their children take the wife’s last name.
8. Wife-pulling ritual
Red Yao ethnic group wedding (Source: Google)
This ritual is regarded as a way for the couples in Red Yao ethnic group to bend the rules. “Wife-pulling” indicates a man’s action of capturing a wife and bring her home. But in reality, it does not mean that the man can catch any woman they like.
The ritual is for couples who have been in love for a long time before. It is just a formalistic custom so that the women can officially get married. 3 days after pulling a wife home, the man will meet her family and announce that they are man and wife. And the wedding is celebrated only after they are rich and have plenty of children.
9. Husband-catching ritual
Churu people (Source: Google)
The husband-catching tradition is not so strange to ethnic groups in Central Highland Vietnam, especially the Churu. It is usually organized from the New Year’s Day to the third month of the Lunar Calendar.
The ritual is performed at night and women will take the initiative to find their groom. This shares something in common with the wife-pulling custom. The biggest difference is that the women can choose any men they like without previously having a relationship with them.
After they find Mr. Right, the women will inform both families and give a ring to the men. If the men do not accept the marriage, they can return it. However, this is not the end. 7 days after that, the women will continue giving the ring to the men until they agree.
10. Bringing the bride home at midnight
Tai ethnic group in Nghe An (Source: Google)
The wedding tradition of Tai ethnic group in Nghe An Province is an excellent representative for the exclusiveness of Vietnam culture. The grooms here always pick up their brides and bring them home at 12 midnight.
The Tai people in Nghe An Province assume that there are numerous dark spirits and demons wandering around by day. Therefore, they can follow the couple home and sabotage their happiness. Also, the moment between an old and new day is blessed by the Gods and can drive away the darkness. It is the best time to bring the brides home.