Khua ethnic group perform 3 marriage ceremonies with one wife

Men from the Khua ethnic group from Quang Binh province in central Vietnam have only one wife but perform the marriage ceremony 3 times.

Khua women

Performing 3 marriage ceremonies is an established and accepted tradition within the Khua ethnic group, as it represents the husband’s faith in his wife.

The first marriage ceremony takes place when both the boy and girl reach maturity. The boy comes to the girl’s house accompanied with his uncle to perform the ceremony at night. They bring with them offerings of a sword, a chicken and a bottle of wine for the girl’s family, which denote the boy’s characteristic, respect and faith.
While his uncle talks to the girl’s parents, the boy takes the girl to his house and lives with her for 3 days and also prepares dowry gifts such as fish, two bottles of wine and silver. He offers these gifts to his parents-in-law and officially become the girl’s husband.

The second marriage takes place when he reaches the age of 40. In this ceremony they invite their neighbors to confirm their relationship.

The third ceremony is considered the most important because this ceremony demonstrates and affirms their love for each other in old age. They invite their neighbors, all their children and descendants to celebrate a feast of chicken, pig, beef and wine. If they die before this marriage ceremony, their oldest son performs the rituals on behalf of his parents and calls it a “ghost marriage.”

People of the Khua ethnic group worship the Pto (bee) and the Fire God. They believe that the bee is a symbol of hardship and luck, while the Fire God represents strength to win over darkness.

Men search for bees in spring to bring luck to their family. They first start by praying to the Nature God before entering the forest. They find beehives by following anthills or by secretly spying at the bees. Before taking the beehive, they have to return to their village to report to their leaders and pray 5 times. When they own a new house, men guard the Fire in the kitchen for 5 days.

Every 3 years, they celebrate the Fire ceremony with a cock, a bottle of wine, 5 bowls of rice, a bamboo shoot soup and chopsticks.

All these ceremonies performed by the Khua ethnic group may seem complex but they are all traditionally respectful.

By Minh Phong- Translated by Kieu Tien

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