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Vietnam Marriage Customs

Vietnamese customs of weddings, funerals, holidays and rituals all are attached to village community. Marriages not only reflecte the lovers’ desire but also had to meet the interests of the family lines, the village; thus, the choice for future bride or bridegroom was done very carefully, which had to go through many formalities from the plighting ceremony, the official proposal to the bride’s family, the wedding to the marriage tie, the ritual of sharing bridal cup of wine, the newly-weds’ first visit to the bride’s family. There are two wedding celebrations, one party given by the bride's family and the other by the grooms.
In the past, families enlisted the help of matchmakers to choose marriage partners. Couples also consulted fortune-tellers to see if their horoscopes were compatible and to choose auspicious days for ceremonies. Ceremonies for the proposal and the engagement took place one or two years before the wedding. These traditions are no longer observed and the engagement ceremony may now be held two weeks before the wedding.
The wedding ceremony consists of two parts. On the first day the groom-with his parents and a small group of family members or friends--goes to the bride's home to seek her parents' permission to marry her. Often, the groom presents the traditional offering of betel leaves and areca nuts to the bride's family. After the groom has made this formal proposal of marriage, the bride's family makes a similar request to its ancestors at the family altar. On the second day, there is a celebration after the bride and groom performed certain rituals at an altar set up for the occasion. Traditionally, at this ceremony held at the groom's house, the tutelary god of marriage, the Old Man in the Moon, is asked to bless and protect the couple. Three tiny cups are filled with rice alcohol. The elder who leads the ceremony bows before the altar, takes a sip from one of the cups, and passes it to who does likewise. The groom then takes a piece of ginger and rubs it in salt, and both bride and groom eat a little of it to signify their lasting love. Only then are they ready to exchange wedding ring. These days, the two ceremonies are often held on the same day. Once the solemnities are over, it is time for a feast with family and friends. If the couple can afford it, the wedding feast is celebrated at a restaurant and a wedding car is hired for the occasion.
Most Vietnamese have adopted Western attire even though it is an Asian wedding--a bridal gown for the woman and a suit for a dowry before he was permitted to marry a woman. This practice is not formally observed these days, but men are still expected to give jewelry and other gifts to the bride.

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