Sexual life and marriage of the Hani

 

In the past young Hani young enjoyed sexual freedom before marriage. They met usually in musical gatherings. Every branch of the Hani keep some traditional customs that differentiate them from the others.

In Menghai County, Xishuangbanna Prefecture, the young put a red dye in their teeth to indicate that they have reached age, and they moved to a house where they lived with other youths of their age. In Xishuangbanna there are some public houses where young people of both sexes spent the night. The girls reflect in their headdress their age and their marital status. During all this period of their life they live outside the family house to have more chances of know a proper partner.

There are at least three kind of marriages among them:

The usual marriage: The marriage was decided by the parents. In some occasions the maternal uncle had preference when marrying a girl to one of his children. Other times they practice exchange of wives among different families to avoid the excessive expenses of the gifts.

Kidnap marriage: When they didn't agree with the couple that the parents have chosen, they can carry out a secret marriage with the person they love, escaping together. They return few days later showing their families the accomplished fact.

Service marriage: If a man didn't have wealth he could practice the marriage for service, by means of which is adopted in his wife's family, acquiring the same obligations than a son.

They are generally monogamous. There is division of work in the family, with the husband occupying a dominant position in the family.

The widows usually marry the deceased husband's brother.

During the wedding the bride cries loudly, showing the pain for leave her parents. Then there is a great party.

The divorces are not very common, and expensive.

For the Hani, keep the family continuity is very important. If the wife doesn't have children after several years, the husband can take a concubine. In fact, the son's name takes the last word of the father's name. They have registered in this way genealogies of up to 55 generations.

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