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Wedding rituals of the Bana

December 15, 2014          2947 views

Wedding rituals and marriage are important in the life of the Bana. Although their wedding rituals have varied at different times and in different regions, some traditional features have been preserved until today.

The host invites betel and areca nut to wedding guests.
The host invites betel and areca nut to wedding guests.
The Bana live mainly in Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen province. Although living in many geographically distant localities, the Bana people have maintained the original features of their wedding ceremony. Young adults are allowed to choose their partner without consulting with their parents. An ideal wife should be a skilled weaver, while a perfect husband should be honest, strong, and a good hunter. Community festivals are venues for boys and girls to meet and get to know each other. When a boy and a girl fall in love, they sit in the Rong house drinking wine and talking. The Bana have a custom that the girl must prepare 100 bundles of wood for a dowry. Bana girls begin collecting wood at the age of 14 or 15. A Tum lives in Dak Lak province: “In the past the girl had to bring dry wood to the husband’s family. She should cut the wood into pieces and tie them in neat bundles, so her parents-in-law will appreciate her character.” 


                                                   People attending a wedding (photo: internet)


Before the wedding ceremony, the couple has to carry out a number of compulsory rituals. The boy and girl inform their parents of their marriage decision. The boy’s family will ask a matchmaker to represent them to invite the girl’s family to the boy’s home for a “bracelet exchanging ceremony”. The boy will give the girl a silver bracelet and the girl will give the boy a bronze bracelet. After this ceremony, the boy and the girl are not allowed to have a love affair with any others.


The wedding ceremony is usually held at the end of the year, when people have leisure after the harvest, full baskets of rice, and lots of cattle and poultry. The wedding is organized on a full moon day at the Rong house. The groom’s family prepares a jar of alcohol and a rooster for the ritual. Dinh Xe is a Bana man. “We place iron item under the alcohol jar. We inform the Heaven God of their marriage and pray for healthy children.”


The bride and groom drink "ruou can", wine in far. (photo: internet)


After the ceremony in the Rong house, the two families organize a party for the whole village. The parents invite the villagers to drink wine and thank them for coming to share the family’s happiness. When the party is over, the matchmaker takes the bride to the groom’s family’s house and prepares the bed for the couple. The groom and the bride have their first meal together before going to bed. Quang Ngoc from the Dak Lak Ethnic Museum talks about some new wedding practices. “The wedding ceremony has maintained the traditional ritual, but there are some new things, such as young people playing guitar at the party. And they wear clothes and shoes rather than the loin-cloth they wore in the past.”


Source: VOVworld



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