The Miao Wedding by Zhang Zhihua


The Miao Wedding (Miaozu jiehun)- Zhang Zhihua - color - 21 min - 2009

This short documentary film shows the different ceremonies of a wedding among the Ah-Mao people living in Yilang County, near Kunming. Most of the Ah-Mao, also known as Flowery Miao, believe in the Christian religion from the first decades of the twenty century.

We see in the wedding ceremony depicted in this film many characteristic related to the Christian faith and the Chinese world view.

Family and friends invited to the wedding arrive with the Ah-Mao traditional dress in the first hours of the morning, some times from faraway villages, with their gifts: a goat, a pack of rice, and some vegetables. The bride and groom take pictures with their friends and relatives. Everybody dance in a joyous environment. Suddenly the music stops and one persons reads aloud all the gifts the newly weds received.

In the local church all the people invited pray to Jesus for the harmony and unity in the newly formed family.

After this religious ceremony there is a banquet. Very informal, the people acts with a simple and unsophisticated ingenuity showing to the viewer their uncompromised joy. Women try to force the men to eat immense quantities of food, they try to resist but are reduced and some times forced to fly before the perseverance of the ladies.

Some traditional games are played, games that seem to be borne in a globalization before this globalization. Pulling ropes again opposes male and female contenders. Some scenes of spontaneous wrestling animate the already happy ambiance.

At night, a new religious ceremony seems to end the festivities of the wedding, with the newlyweds and their families praying Jesus again to bless this new family.

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