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Ember 2002 p343 defines marriage as a socially approved sexual and economic union usually between a woman and a man Because marriage customs differ widely according to culture it is obviously of great interest to the cultural anthropologist For example marriage rites in some cultures may involve highly complex ceremonial rituals whereas marriage rites in other cultures may be relatively simple The Chinese in this essay meaning native inhabitants of China seem to have an affinity for elaborate rituals like other Chinese celebrations a traditional Chinese marriage involves several elaborate rituals some of which are performed before the actual wedding day This essay will examine each part of the wedding from the perspective of a particular Chinese subculture Visiting girls is a courtship ritual practiced by the Dai ethnic group that typically takes place during the agricultural slack season An Liu 2002 When the lights in their houses have been put out bonfires are built outside the village ibid Young women sit around the fires with their spinning wheels ibid Young men drape themselves with red blankets and walk around the young women as they play musical instruments ibid When a young man sees a young woman who strikes his fancy he approaches her slowly ibid If the attraction is mutual the young woman takes out a small stool which has been concealed under her long skirt and invites him to sit beside her ibid The young man then seats himself and wraps his red blanket around the young woman ibid A heart-to-heart talk then ensues ibid Two weeks before the wedding takes place the Hokkien matchmaker delivers the dowry money to the brides parents inside a red packet Blu Inc Media S Pte Ltd 1999 This traditional practice is known as lup chai ibid It is considered good etiquette for the brides parents to leave a small amount of money in the red packet to be returned to the groom in order to
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