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The Wedding of Lhoba

Everything concerning marriage is usually taken care of by parents. In general, boys and girls get engaged when they are only seven to eight years old. Usually, the boy makes a proposal himself and sometimes his parent or the matchmaker does the job. After the two sides agree, it is time for engagement. When the two are engaged, the boy's family should send gifts like pigs, rice, ghee, wine, etc., to the girl's home. After the engagement, the boy's family should continuously pay the bride-price. When the boy and the girl become 15 to 16 years old, they can marry if the boy's side has paid enough bride-price.

In the past, mercenary marriage was prevalent among Lhoba people. A man could buy a girl in the same hierarchy as his wife and it usually cost seven to eight or even more than ten cows together with servants, bronze pot, grains and ghee. Therefore, women had a very low position in the society and had no heirdom to the clan's property.

When a young man marries a young woman, the bridegroom generally does not go in person to meet the bride and escort her to his home for wedding. When the sun rises, the bride leaves for the bridegroom's home accompanied by elders of her clan, her parents, sisters and brothers, and so on.

On the halfway, the bridegroom's escort welcomes the bride and the accompanying guests. When they arrive, the bridegroom's people go out to welcome the bride and toast to the bride's accompanying guests one by one. According to the traditional custom, the host needs to drink a mouth of the wine before the toasting to show the wine is free of poison and he is honest to the guests. After that, he offers the goblet to the guests with both hands.

Only if the guests drink off the wine in the goblet will the hosts be happy. Even if the bride is shy, she should have the bottom up. Or, young men who come to meet the bride and escort her to the bridegroom's home for wedding won't let them off. The bridegroom will greet the bride at the gate of his house. After they enter the courtyard, the bridegroom and the bride bow to each other. At this moment, guests begin to sing a song extolling the new couple.

The bridegroom's family is hospitable to the bride's accompanying guests. At dinner, the new couple should toast to all guests. The bride and the bridegroom exchange kha-btags, butter and rice wine.

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