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Located in the south of Hubei, known as "the South Gate of Hubei", Xianning has great renown for “Chibi old haunt of the Three Kingdoms, inland nuclear power city”, which has great advantages of its "mountain", "water" "geography","location","culture","scenery","energy"and the trend of development. Xianning is a suitable place to do ...[more]
Xianning City, attached to Hubei Province, known as “the southern gateway to Hubei”, is famous for sweet-scented os... [more]
Administrative divisions
Lying in the southeast of Hubei Province, along the south bank of the Yangtze River, and at the junction of Hunan, Hu... [more]
 Despite the late administrative construction of Xianning (prefecture-level city), the counties and urban districts under its administration all have a long history. The territory of today’s Xianning belonged to Jing Chu in the Xia and Shang Dynasties ( about 2200-1100 BC), Nan County in the Qin Dynasty(221-206 BC ), [more]
The Folk Customs of Weddings and Funerals in Xian’an 11-05-27


  (Photographed by Zhao Zhongzhi)

  Acknowledging Relatives

  The custom still continues in the territory of Xianning. Both sides of bride and bridegroom choose a lucky day when the matchmaker takes the bridegroom to the bride’s side, and then the parents of the bride’s family make a list of names of the close relatives such as uncles and aunts, while every family of the bridegroom prepares “Four Kinds of Gifts”, led by seniority of bride’s family and matchmaker to the bridegroom’s home to know relatives. After that procedure, both sides of bride and bridegroom choose another lucky day, on that day, the bridegroom’s family informs all close relatives to get together and the future daughter-in-law is led by the matchmaker to the bridegroom’s family to acknowledge relatives. When the banquet finishes at noon, all uncles and aunts must present red envelopes in which are money, and the sum of money depends on the economic situation of each other. In the afternoon, the bride’s families are sent home by the matchmaker.

  Proposing Marriage (Reporting the Date of Marriage)

  Having completed the step above, the parents of the bridegroom and the matchmaker prepare the gifts for making a table of meals to go to the bride’s family and counsel the wedding date and dowry. The bride’s family will invite the eloquent and highly respected clansmen and chief cooks to counsel with the bride’s family about betroth fee and presents of dowry (including wine and dishes non-staple food, which are material object in old days, and now are generally converted into cash). When making the list with red paper, people in both sides of the bride and bridegroom would bargain, and sometimes they will wrangle to red faces. The custom of Xianning is that the more the family wrangles, the more the couple will earn. After the bridegroom’s family gets the list, they will go back home. At that night, the bride’s family will make a feast to treat the chief cooks and other people with wine, dishes and other presents for they have givn a hand.

  Presenting Gifts

  It is generally in the previous day before the marriage that the bridegroom’s family invites people who are generally the matchmaker or uncles of the bridegroom’s family to send the cash gift and clothes, wine and dishes that are conferred on the date of marriage to the bride’s family. While the bride’s family makes feasts to treat the lines of people of the bride’s side. After lunch, the lines of people of the bridegroom’s side go home quickly. If the home of the bride is far away from Xianning, then the lines of people of the bride’s side can spend the night in the bride’s family until the second day when they help the bridegroom marry the bride. Presenting gifts can be roughly divided into a few classes. The first set of gifts is the wedding dress of the bridegroom. In the old days, wealthy family would generally prepare eight sets of coat and eight sets of underwear for the bride. The second set of gifts includes gold and silver jewelry like gold rings, gold necklace and gold earrings. The third set of gifts includes the inner quilt, and the average family will prepare six mattresses and eight cover quilts. According to the rules of Xianning, if the bride’s family prepares eight sheets of cotton wadding, the bridegroom’s family should prepare eight mattresses. The fourth set of gifts includes fish, meat, wine and vegetable, the quantity of which generally depend on the number of guests of the bride’s side, this has been proposed properly by both sides and prepared exactly the amount by the bridegroom’s family. (To be continued)

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