Wedding Ceremony plays a very important role in the Giay’s life. For them, the most important things in life are morality, family tradition, and respect.
In the past the Giay upheld the custom of arranged marriage. Parents often asked their relatives or friends to find a good partner for their child in or near their village. Now young people get to know each other when they visit relatives or friends and join call-and-response singing events. When a young man and woman fall in love, they ask their parents to prepare a wedding.
The groom will bring to the bride’s family a pair of roosters, a pair of ducks, and a pig as betrothal gifts. The bride’s family will ask for additional marriage presents. Customarily these will include pork and alcohol for the wedding party, a silver bracelet and necklace and new clothes for the bride to bring with her to her husband’s house, and rice to repay the bride’s parents for bringing her up.
The Giay believe that the bigger the wedding party, the happier the couples will be. The best time for a wedding is the lull between the 11th and the 2nd lunar month when all the villagers can attend.
The welcoming-the-bride-home delegation must consist of 2 old couples, who are well-spoken and have happy families, a groomsman, two bridesmaids, a younger brother, who will lead a horse carrying his sister-in-law, and several people carrying presents.
Entering the house, the groom and the groomsman bow in front of the altar. The groom’s delegation will be offered a lot of alcohol and they are not supposed to refuse. The couple will bow in front of the altar and ask for permission for the bride to be a family member. Then the mother-in-law will show her daughter-in-law around the house.
The bride will carry a mirror in front of her chest, symbolizing her purity; some onion, garlic, and seedlings, symbolizing fertility; and a rooster, which is considered a sacred animal, to chase away evils and guide her way.
Choosing the time for each ritual is very important, especially the time to enter the husband’s house to begin a new life.