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Wedding rituals of the Bo Y

After spring dating, when cold wind begins to blow, young ethnic boys and girls in the northwest mountain region decide to get married.

Matchmakers of the groom's family meet the bride's representatives to make a wedding proposal. (Photo:

The Bo Y in Muong Khuong district, Lao Cai province, observe wedding rituals different from those of other ethnic groups.

When a young couple decides to marry, the man’s family sends matchmakers to the woman’s family to make a wedding proposal. During a second meeting, the two families discuss wedding parties and the gifts the bride’s family’s want.

“At the second meeting, we talk about the money the parents will give their children, and how much pork and wine for the party. The bride’s family asks for presents such as bracelets, a silver necklace, earrings, and clothes,” said matchmaker Gi Suy San.

The groom's family brings wedding gifts to the bride's family. (Photo:

“When the bride’s family has agreed with the groom’s family about the wedding ceremony, they discuss their preference for wedding gifts, for example, jewelry and clothes for the bride and pork and wine for the parents. The groom’s family will prepare pork and wine to accommodate the number of guests,” said matchmaker Lo Lai Suu.

The Bo Y don’t ask for wedding gifts based on the wealth of the groom’s family. They ask for gifts equal to what neighbors have received before. After the meeting, the matchmakers report the results to the groom’s family.

“When we tell them about the wedding gifts, they may ask us to return to the bride’s family to negotiate for fewer gifts. Some families agree to reduce their demand, but some will not,” said San.

Some families say reducing their demands devalues their daughter. It could also affect their neighbors’ daughters. Some grooms have to borrow to pay for their marriage.

A ceremony to bring the bride to the groom's home. (Photo:

When the two families have agreed on wedding parties and gifts, the wedding ceremony must be scheduled for an auspicious day. The groom’s delegation to bring his bride to his home should include two senior people, 4 unmarried young men and women, and a couple with daughters and sons. 

The bride’s mother-in-law will challenge her daughter-in-law on the first morning in her new family.  

”The bride has to wake up early to clean the house. Her mother-in-law challenges her by leaving money in dark corners to see if she cleans the house thoroughly and if she is honest,” said Suu.

Obviously all brides try to be truthful and hardworking. In the past the Bo Y only married people within their group, but now they have begun to intermarry. VOV5


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