When a Pa Ko boy likes a girl, he will go to the girl’s house and use a twig to hit her stilt house’s floor. 

If the girl also has good feeling for him, she will invite him in her house to talk and sing call-and-response melodies through the night. 

Now not many young people follow the dating custom, but call-and-response songs have remained an important part of a wedding ceremony. 

Young Pa Ko people are free to date, but when they come to marriage, they should abide by traditional procedures. 

Ho Van Hanh, patriarch of a Pa Ko hamlet in Hong Trung commune, A Luoi district, Thua Thien Hue province, said they young couple has to tell their parents of their wish to get marriage, who will help them prepare offerings. 

He said, “Before the marriage proposal ceremony, the man’s family has to inform the Heaven God and their deceased ancestors of the event. The man’s family gives the girl’s family some kinds of jewelry to tighten their relationship.”

At the wedding, both families have gifts for the bride, groom, and their relatives. 

The groom’s family gives silver bracelets, strings of beads, and clothes and meat of four-leg animals such as pig, cow, and goat. The bride’s family prepares curtains, brocade items, fish and poultry.

The wedding ceremony has two parts: taking the bride out of her house and welcoming her into the groom’s family. The offering on the altar should have a boiled chicken and steamed glutinous rice. 

The bride brings with her some pieces of brocade cloth. When she walks down stair, they will cover her with a headscarf to avoid bad things on the way.

When the bride’s delegation arrives in the groom’s house, the groom’s mother welcomes them. She takes off her headscarf and wears for her an agate necklace. 

When they are invited to go into the house to talk and sing call-and-response songs. The groom’s family may sing that they wish to marry a good girl for their son to help him with housework. 

The bride’s family responses with modest words about their daughter. 

Ho Van Tien, a researcher of the Pa Ko culture, said, “Call-and-response singing is an important part of a wedding. The lyrics are plain but meaningful. While singing, they express their feeling and also show off about the ability of their children.”

Call-and-response singing sessions also manifest the family’s knowledge and the pride and culture of the Pa Ko.