Mongolian Marriage Customs

Engagement Gifts

When a young Mongolian man wishes to marry a young woman, he asks a matchmaker to send her sugar, tea leaves and pastern to her wrapped in a white handkerchief, symbolizing harmony, wetness, and prosperity.

If the gifts are accepted, it means the girl's family agrees to the match. Soon after, the young man and his family will bring the girl's family gifts of hada, milk liquor, and sugar blocks, to make a proposal. It takes several proposals for the deal to be sealed. The marriage is set when the boy has delivered wine three times to the girl's house, and had it accepted. When the wedding date approaches, the young man sends gifts one final time to the young woman's house, including an entire cooked sheep, wine, tea leaves, and hada. The girl's family will entertain the sender and the two sides toast each other and sing antiphonal songs in celebration.

Testing the Bridegroom's Strength through Breaking Sheep's Neck

In the Erdos area, after a Mongolian bridegroom and his party arrive at the bride's home to escort her, they're treated like VIPs and everyone eats, sings and dances together. A person who is assigned to express god whishes from the bride's side secretly leaves the banquet and leads the bridegroom to the bride's room. After they sit down, bridesmaids take a cooked sheep neck to entertain the bridegroom and ask him to break the neck through the middle with his hands to test his strength. In order to make fun of the bridegroom, the bridesmaids will already have inserted a red willow stick or an iron stick into the marrow of the sheep neck. If the bridegroom is told by someone beforehand, he can see through the trick and first take out the stick and easily break the sheep neck. Others who don't know the trick are unable to break the neck and must endure the sarcasm of the bridesmaids.

Strive to be First on the Way for Wedding

The bride's entourage competes with that of the groom to arrive at his home first. Sometimes they'll grab the groom's horse or whip and toss them to the ground, delaying him when he stops to pick them up. Sometimes the groom will have prepared a feast somewhere near his home, so the bride's party is obligated to stop and partake of his hospitality, giving the groom the chance to rush home first.

 Kowtow to the Ingle not the Earth and Heaven

The wedding date is decided on by the groom's party, through augury by killing a chicken. When the bride arrives at the groom's house on the wedding day, she and the groom kill a chicken together, looking for a lucky sign on its liver. They'll kill as many chickens as necessary to find the lucky sign. After that, the new couple attends a ceremony in which a bowl of wine with ghee on the bowl edge is put in front of them; they drink a bit themselves and then drink from each other's cups. After the ceremony, the bride and bridegroom tend to the matchmakers and all other guests. Guests from both sides drink, sing, and dance till midnight.