To prepare for a wedding, the male’s family hires a matchmaker, who takes care of everything from making the wedding proposal to organize the wedding ceremony and taking the bride to the groom’s family home. The matchmaker is honored as a foster father of the bride.
Tran Van Ngo in Yen The district says the matchmaker should be a morally respectable man with a profound knowledge of tradition and good communication skills. He should have a happy family with a wife and many children. The groom’s family chooses matchmaker who lives with his wife. A matchmaker should be 30 to 40 years old.
Sometimes a matchmaker will refuse. Ninh Quang Nghiep of Xuan Luong commune said, “At first we ask tentatively. If the matchmaker accepts, the groom’s family give him a chicken and a bottle of wine. There are many reasons for a man to refuse to be a matchmaker. If he is a close relative of the groom, he may refuse because he doesn’t want to be a mediator in future matters.”
The groom’s family then finds a man to lead the procession to the bride’s house. The bride’s relatives use bamboo poles to block the way. The bride’s relatives ask riddles and the groom’s relatives have to answer correctly to get through the bamboo barriers.
Mr. Nghiep said, “When the groom’s family come to take the bride away, the bride’s family bar the way and won’t allow the matchmaker and the groom to go through. They challenge the groom’s relatives with questions about the group’s culture and traditions.”
The procession leader represents the group in answering the questions. If he fails to answer quickly and correctly, the groom’s delegation must wait. A wedding involves a proposal ceremony, an engagement ceremony, a wedding party, and a ceremony to take the bride to the groom’s family home.
Mr. Nghiep added, “The groom’s family prepares an offering of two chickens, 2 bowls of rice, two bottles of wine, betel leaves, and areca nuts. The bride’s family invites close relatives to witness the engagement ceremony, at which the matchmaker informs them the date and time of the wedding.”
The groom’s family is in charge of the wedding party. The night before the groom takes the bride to his home, both families enjoy an all-night party, where they sing and congratulate the newly-wed couple.
At the groom’s house, a shaman performs a ritual to chase away evil spirits. He ties red threads on the couple’s wrists to wish them happiness forever. After the wedding ceremony, the couple return to the female’s house to live until she gives birth to their first baby.