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The Wedding of Kazak

Expressing Love in Game

Girls pursuit is a favorite traditional folk game of Kazak girls and young men, and also a special way for them to seek their sweet hearts and express their love.

When the game starts, pairs of young men go towards the appointed target slowly on horses. On the way, a young man can express love at will to any girl he loves and the girl should not indicate any disagreement but only listen attentively. However, on the way back, the girl can pursue the young man and beat him with horsewhip. If the girl catches the fancy of the young man, she just waves the whip over his head, or symbolically beats him one or two whips. If the girl is not interested in the young man, he inevitably suffers the hardship.

Crossing River During Engagement

The bridegroom's parents or sister in-law participate in the engagement ceremony and the process of engagement is unique and interesting. When the parents-in-law see the future daughter-in-law for the first time, the mother-in-low should present a piece of white cloth with design of scattered small flowers and plants to the bride as the gift on first meeting, then goes forward to kiss her, and wrap a piece of white triangular cloth with several owl feathers around the bride's head.

After that, four to five women encircle to scramble for the cloth with design of scattered small flowers and plants as wedding gifts. The one who snatches a patch of it is auspicious. What follows is a ceremony of crossing river, in which the bridegroom's relatives and the bride's brother or sister-in-law cross a river or brook simultaneously, indicating that both sides should never pull back.

Singing in Antiphonal Style to Meet the Bride

A wedding of Kazak ethnic minority generally lasts three days. On the first day, the bridegroom goes with the groomsman to the bride's home to meet her and escort her back to his own home for wedding. The second day is for rest. On the third day, a wedding ceremony is held. However, the mischievous bridesmaid may hide the bride and the groomsman on horseback has to open a corner of the yurt and sing in antiphonal style with the bridesmaid. Only after he wins can he enter the door to meet the bride.

Ghee Smoke Driving Away Devils and Blessing the Bride

When the bride arrives at the bridegroom's home, several female guests enclose the bride with a red curtain and cover her face with a veil. The bride enters a yurt accompanied by the bridesmaid. The bridegroom's parents sit in the front of the yurt with a fire in front of them. The bride goes near the fire. A female guest pours ghee into the fire, warms her hands over the rising smoke and makes a gesture of rubbing the bride's face, which means to drive away devils and bless the bride.

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