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The customs of Li ethnic wedding



The local ethnic groups still faithfully observe their wedding customs until today. Some of the customs are very unique with typical local practice. The most local practice is Arranged Date with Areca Gift. The family of the boy carefully selects a lucky date according to Chinese lunar calendar and formally visits the girl’s family with areca -------a popular local fruits------ as gift. There are other customs reflecting the influence of the mainland culture and indicating the culture exchange between the Hainan Island and the mainland in ancient time. For instance, the Red Paper Fate Match is to present a piece of red paper with will-be couple’s eight Chinese characters about their birth to a fortune teller, who will choose a lucky wedding date to bless the couple. The bridegrooms family also need to carry delicious local pies with shoulder pole to the bride’s family as a gift. The number of the pies should be an even one, implying that the couple is blessed. The bride also must go through a formal Hair Washing and Combing Ceremony on the eve of the wedding day. On the Wedding Day, the couple will knee down in front to the icon of Heaven and Earth for worship, towards their parents for gratitude, and bow to each other for mutual respect. Then they will enter into the wedding chamber with a bed on which scattered some peanuts, Chinese date (jujube), and lotus seed, meaning “may your have a beloved baby as soon as possible”. The next day, the just-married couple will visit the bride’s family with some candies, cookies, and areca.


However, the Li ethnic wedding customs is gradually under the influence of mordern society. It seems that those Li ethnic people who have been working in urban areas of China are quite willing to add the modern tinge to their wedding ceremony while still observe the gist of their wedding customs. The following picture, in which the bridegroom wears modern suit and traditional neck jewelry with his best man,  can vividly illustrate this change. It is noticable that the bride still wears a very traditional formal dress for Li women.