Mongolian Wedding Traditions

by sumpteretc

Before the wedding, if the two families live far apart, they move closer together. One day before taking the bride, someone from the groom’s family goes to the bride’s house and makes arrangements for the wedding.

When welcoming a daughter-in-law, the groom’s side sends the wedding leader, an elderly person, the groom’s mother, a person who gives fermented mare’s milk to people, a person who holds the shot glass, two load-bearers, and the groom with his complete gun and quiver, with load-carrying camels to the bride’s house. They must enter the bride’s house before sunrise. At this time, the bride’s family has the bride enter their other ger, the bride’s father puts the bride’s baggage on the west side of the ger, and then people have a party in the ger. As soon as the bride’s family knows the groom’s side has come, they lock their door from inside. When those from the groom’s side come, push on the door, and say three times:

I came from a place far from the water
My mouth thirsted, my horse grew tired
Open your golden door and love

they open the door and invite them in.

After the people enter, greet, and drink tea, they speak blessings and give the bride’s side vodka, ceremonial scarves, and gifts. The groom greets his father- and mother-in-law with a ceremonial scarf. They have the son-in-law bow three times to his father-in-law’s hearth and give him a sleeveless jacket and belt to put on. They load the bride’s baggage on the camel. The bride’s mother and female relatives bring the bride into the house, have her bow to the fire and the idols, send her to the left side of the altar, have her kiss her father and mother and then drink tea, and put the bride on a horse. One person leads the horse the bride is riding in a clockwise circle around the house and sends it on. When the bride goes, she does not look back. It is believed that, if she looks, it is a sign of returning to her home, so it is taboo. They set up the groom’s ger on the east side of his father’s ger. The bride circles the ger clockwise and dismounts at sunrise. She tastes milk and enters the ger. She enters her ger, and then bows to her father- and mother-in-law and the rest of the people, and sits down. After the bride lights her fire and brews fresh tea, the singer of benedictions gives a blessing and the bride’s father ties a ceremonial scarf to the roof of the ger. Later, the bride’s side gives gifts to the son-in-law, and the groom’s side gives gifts to the daughter-in-law. The people eat, drink and celebrate. When evening comes, they move the celebration to the father’s ger, the women put the newly-married young people to bed, join up the pillows and pull the curtains of the bed. For three days after the wedding, the bride doesn’t have to do any work. After three days, they part the curtains of the bed, the daughter-in-law boils tea, causes the people to drink and celebrates.

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