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The Wedding of Oroqen

Having Meat Porridge Together in Marriage Proposal

When boys of the Oroqen ethnic minority grow to 15 to 16 years old, their parents begin to look for suitable girls in the outside clans for them. If they pick out the suitable one, they will ask a matchmaker to visit the girl's family to propose a marriage. After the proposal obtains her family's approval, the young man has to take preys with him to visit the girl's family accompanied by his mother and the matchmaker.

If the girl and the young man both come of age, they can sleep together on the day they acknowledge each other. Before this, they will hold a simple ceremony, in which the two young people hold a bowl made of birch cortex with one hand and eat the meat porridge together with one pair of chopsticks, indicating that the couple share joys and sorrows after marriage and live together forever.

Before the official marriage, the young man must send several reindeer to the bride's family as betrothal gifts in person, and kowtow to the future mother and father-in-law. According to custom, on the day the young man presents the gifts, he can sleep with his fiancée again.

Circumambulating to Escort the Bride to the Wedding

On the wedding day, the bridegroom must go to the bride's home to fetch the bride and the bride's family members must wait halfway to greet the party from the groom's family. Even if the two families live in the same place, they also have to deliberately circumambulate to greet the party from the bridegroom's family. Before the bridegroom's party arrives at the bride's home, they shall have horse racing activities with the bride's greeting party. After they arrive, they live in places arranged by the bride's family.

When it is time to return, the bridegroom needs to set off one day earlier. The next day, he goes halfway with a younger brother to greet the bride. When the bride arrives at the place of the bridegroom's family tribe, accompanied by her bridesmaids, a similar horse race is held. The bride and the bridegroom do not participate in the horse racing but act as viewers and cheer for their own sides.

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