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Life Etiquette and Shoes

Updated: 2018-08-07 14:51:15

( Chinaculture.org )

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 Shoes to Show the Bride's Needlework

The shoes made by the bride, though not necessarily for herself, are a must among the bride's dowry in many places. In the Shangluo Region of North China's Shanxi Province, every woman, prior to her marriage, has to make a pair of shoes for every member of her fiancé's family.

On the wedding day, after the wedding ceremony, the bride has to distribute the shoes she has made to every family member, who will try on the shoes on the spot and make some comments. The shoes, in addition to showing the bride's needlework, also signify that the bride will respect the elder, love the young, and get along well with the whole family.

 The "Sifting Shoes" Custom

There is an interesting custom called "sifting shoes" among today's Zhuang Ethnic Minority people today. When two young people get married, the bride's sisters escort her to the bridegroom's family. Then a wedding ceremony is held, in which the bride and bridegroom make formal bows to the groom's parents. After that, the escorts sing songs together before the bridegroom's family lay out the wedding banquet, during which the ritual of tea or wine serving is held. As the escorts are beginning to take leave, a young man brings out a sift (container of sort) and begins "sifting shoes".

Usually, the escorts will decline politely before putting the shoes they bring with themselves into the sift. Every time the man receives a pair of shoes, he will put a red packet into the container and then presents it to the escort as he shakes the container and sings songs of gratitude. He does this until he has "sifted" shoes into red packets for all the escorts.

 Auspicious Wedding Shoes

During the wedding ceremony, the bride usually wears special wedding shoes. For example, in Southern Fujian Province, the bride has to wear a pair of shoes embroidered with patterns of a turtle or a deer, which symbolizes blessing, happiness, and longevity after marriage.

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