Different marriages of the Yao people

 

Between the Yao there are different kinds of marriage, though all they have some common characteristics:

- They use antiphonal songs to court each other.
- They have freedom to choose their love partners, but they not always to marry them, since the parents sometimes choose the couple from their childhood.
- In every case they need the assistance of a matchmaker and a shaman to decide an auspicious date.
- There is an important delivery of gifts on the part of the bridegroom's family.
- They sacrifice chickens to see if the union will be good.
- The maternal uncle plays an important position in the marriage.
- Sometimes they marry among cousins.

The Panyao and Shanziyao branches marriage:

The Panyao and Shanziyao that live in villages quite isolated take advantage of visits and festivals to know their couples. By means of songs they begin their relationship; sometimes they will invite a song teacher to accompany them when they visit the lover. Between the Panyao the wedding party last three days, the most important moment is when the bride enters the bridegroom's village. They are faithful after marrying, but they can divorce if they want.

Qinghuyao branch

Between the Qinghuyao branch, the girls have in their room an "eye of the love". A hole in the wall where at night, the lover will put a stick, and the girl will decide whether to got up to speak with him or to reject him.

Baikuyao branch

The young of Baikuyao (White Pants Yao) branch usually know their partners in funerals or festivals. They sing together and exchange gifts. Then the girl invites him to sleep in her house, without any opposition for the parents. The wedding takes place after accepting the girlfriend's price. They have divorce.

Bapaiyao branch

The Bapaiyao branch also meet each other in festivals. They have sexual relations before marry. Usually the men request sexual relations giving the girls a red knot. Before, in New Year's Eve and the first two days of the year, they go to the forest to look for sexual encounters. Now this practice has disappeared. They are free to divorce, but usually they don't do.

Beilouyao branch

The young of the Beilouyao branch only sing in group, they never allow the young to sing alone. They need the help of shamans and fortune-tellers in all the phases of their love and marriage.

Hualanyao branch

The Hualanyao branch boys and girls see how their marriages are fixed by their parents when they are children. Once their relation is formalized, they can sleep together. Their wedding is very simple, only 4 or 5 people attend, but they make a great ceremony when the first-born completes one month. Is very common to marry and divorce three or four times.

Aoyao branch

The young of the Aoyao branch need also the help of their parents and a matchmaker. In the first visit of the matchmaker, liquor is fermented. After some days they smell it, if it smell well, they will marry, if not, it is not considered auspicious. They can have sexual relations before marriage, but not children. Once married, they have freedom also to have lovers, who usually keep a good relation with their spouses. They usually have only two children, who take the father's family name (who usually is not the biological father). If they have more, they make infanticide. They have freedom of divorce, but rarely do it.

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