In many areas of China’s Southwest Sichuan Province, crying before and during the wedding was viewed as necessary marriage procedure.

According to elderly people, every bride had to cry at the wedding prior to the liberation of the PRC in 1949. Otherwise, the bride’s neighbors would look down upon her as a poorly cultivated girl and she would become the laughingstock of the village. In fact, there were cases in which the bride was beaten by her mother for not crying at the wedding ceremony. []

The Tijua people in the said province are among those who still practice this matrimonial custom.

Crying marriage is a matrimonial custom that must be observed by every Tujia girl, no matter whether she is satisfied with the bridegroom or not. Some brides begin to cry as early as two months before the marriage, while others cry for at least ten days or half a month beforehand.

Although usually there are fixed crying songs, the bride may improvise sometimes. Tujia people attach significant importance to the custom of crying marriage. For a Tujia girl, whether she can cry and how she cries will usually cast great influence over her identity and reputation, and have been considered as symbols of the girl’s wisdom and morals.

Some girls begin to learn crying at a young age, and some parents even go so far as inviting an elderly woman to teach their daughters how to cry. When they are fifteen or sixteen years old, the girls will practice crying with their young companions, and sometimes teach each other how to cry… []


This is so different from our family’s tradition where everyone views wedding as joyous event. You will not see blatant display of tears nor hint of unhappiness. Some Filipino parents cry during weddings but my parents, well, all throughout my sister’s wedding ceremony they smiled, laughed, grinned, etc. I say crying is not a taboo; its just that we could not find any reason to cry that time. Next year, another sister will be getting married and I expect there will be another round of revelry.