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Unique Dao Gu Lang wedding rituals

12:05 | 20/07/2020

The wedding ceremony of Bac Son mountainous ethnic people, which is greatly different from that of most Vietnamese countries, holds an abundance of cultural patterns and traditional values. 

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unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
Bride Trieu Thi Tien is changing her outfit with the help of her mother. (Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

It’s the custom for Dao Gu Lang bride to go to the groom’s house early in the morning on the wedding day. Along with the dowry, the bride will bring along two outfits, one to wear while leaving her parents’ home, one to change before entering the groom’s home.

Bride Trieu Thi Tien is changing her outfit with the help of her mother. They are standing at around 100m from the groom’s house.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
The bride's costume consists of a veil, multi-layered blouse, four floral embroidery belts, hat, necklace, bracelets, silver jewelry (Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

The bride's costume consists of a veil, multi-layered blouse, and four floral embroidery belts. In addition, the bride also wears a hat, a necklace, bracelets, and silver jewelry. Each costume of the Dao Lu Gang bride has an average of three to ten layers. Those from wealthy families might put on more layers.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
(Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

The wedding parade will start at a good time, with the bride being accompanied by two bridesmaids.

In the picture, the bride’s mother is helping her daughter to put on the hat, which is the gift from the groom’s house.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
The wedding parade is heading towards the groom’s house. (Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

The wedding parade is heading towards the groom’s house. The bride is accompanied by two bridesmaids on both sides.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals

A shaman is performing outdoor rituals to welcome the bride's family

(Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

According to ancestral customs, Dao Lu Gang groom does not head the wedding parade to go take the bride home, like the wedding custom of many Vietnamese countries, but stay home and prepare for the worshiping rituals.

The shaman is performing outdoor rituals to welcome the bride's family. In addition to the offering tray, the offerings also include two paper costumes, one for the bride and one for the groom.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
(Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

The bride’s family came across the offering tray and was about to enter the groom’s house. The groom’s relatives and friends stand on the hillside to welcome the bride.

Before the bride enters her husband’s house, the shaman recites the pray to ward of evil spirits and ask the ancestor to let the bride officially become a member of the family.

After praying, the bride will have to walk over a bowl of water before taking the first steps inside her new house.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
The groom has to dress in wedding attire and puts on a veil (Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

The bride has to enter the house through the side gate instead of the main one to avoid running into her parents-in-law.

After the shaman done praying for the second time, officially recognize the bride as a descendant of the family, the groom – dressed in wedding attire and a veil – will step out.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
(Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

Standing behind the bride is the matchmaker. The matchmaker must have a happy family life, with both son and daughter, and earn prestige among local villagers.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
The groom and the bride take a bow in front of the altar (Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

The groom and the bride walked into the flower mat to perform to take a bow in front of the altar, the shaman, their parents, and relatives from both families.

Previously, it was customary for the groom to bow 360 times but now the bowing is way simpler. The groom only has to do the practice 12 times.

After the wedding ceremony, the groom’s family prepare a wedding feast to dine and wine all the relatives and friends. Pig livers, considered the main dish in the wedding feast of Dao Gu Lang people, are shared with everyone.

unique dao gu lang wedding rituals
(Photo courtesy of Nguyen Son Tung/ via VNE)

The photo series is taken by photographer Nguyen Son Tung who lives and works in Lang Son city. He is often referred to by his friends as Tung "Dao", whose works and photo stories record the beauty of the upland people.

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