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The Wedding of Uygur

Mother Serves as Matchmaker for Son

According to the custom of Uygur ethnic minority, a young man and a girl who love each other can only get engaged with approval from their parents. Generally, the engagement ceremony is held within 15 days before the formal wedding. The young man's mother and other female relatives take gifts prepared for the girl and her main relatives to the girl's home on an appointed day. And, the girl's family also invite some friends and relatives and prepare tea and food to treat guests.

On the feast, the young man's mother or other relatives explains the purpose of coming and asks whether the girl's parents agree to marry the girl to the young man. If they agree, the two sides decide a specific date for the marriage.

Eat Cakes and Share Happiness and Woe

The wedding ceremony is held in the bride's house with an imam presiding over it. After the imam reads a section of Alcoran, he asks the bridegroom and the bride whether they are willing to marry with each other. If he gets the positive answer, he takes out two Uygur cakes for the bridegroom and bride to take one each. Though the cakes have been dipped into saltwater and are salty even bitter, the new couple have to eat up, indicating they will share happiness and woe and be royal to each other in the future.

After the bride leaves her parents' home, villagers along the way may bar the way until the bridegroom salutes to them one by one with his right hand on his chest and gives wedding sweets to children.

Move Fire Around Bride's Head Three Circles

When the bride arrives at the bridegroom's home, the bridegroom's family ignite a fire at the gate and a guest uses a firebrand to circle the bride's head three times. Then, the bride sends gifts to each guest and moves around the fire several times, to drive away evils and invite good fortune. After that, she may enter the bridal chamber. Then, the bridegroom's friends and guests begin to sing epithalamium and enjoy cakes and other food at the banquet. The more guests eat, the happier the host.

When the banquet ends, people begin to sing and dance. The bridegroom and the bride might be invited to perform a dance. A week later, the newlyweds take gifts to visit the bride's parents, who will prepare delicious food for them.

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