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The Custom of Crying Marriage has existed in China’s ethnic minorities for a long period, especially among Tujia People, who view it as a necessary marriage procedure.Though not so popular as before, the custom is still observed by Tujia people in many villages of Zhangjiajie. According to senior people, every bride has to cry at the wedding ceremony, expressing her gratitude and love for her parents and relatives. Otherwise, the bride's neighbors would look down upon her as she is a poorly cultivated girl.
Usually, the bride begins to cry a month before the wedding day. As the night falls, the bride walks inside the hall and weeps for about an hour. Ten days later, her mother joins her, crying together with her. Later on, the grandmother joins the daughter and mother, to cry together with them. The sisters and aunts of the bride, if she has any, also have to join the crying.
The bride may cry in different ways with diversified words, which was also called "Crying Marriage Song"; the somewhat exaggerated singing helps to enhance the wedding atmosphere. In a word, crying at wedding is a way by custom to set off the happiness of the wedding via falsely sorrowful words. Crying at the wedding doesn’t mean “pain and sorrow” but “joy and hope”