We were pleased to be invited to a Dungan wedding today. I’ll see how many photos I manage to get up. My husband had the camera so there are very few photos of what I saw, but that’s okay. I sincerely hope the photos land in the right places in the description, but I really don't have much reason to hope.
Dungans are Chinese Muslims who have usually lived in Central Asia since the mid-to-late-1800s. They still speak Chinese (Dungan) and they have kept many Chinese customs. It was different to see people in Kyrgyzstan eating with chopsticks and speaking what sounded very Chinese to me. Dungans are less likely to marry non-Dungans than, for example, Kyrgyz are to marry non-Kyrgyz.
We were invited by the bride’s aunt, so I was with the women from the bride’s family, and my husband was with the men from the family. I also had our three-year-old with me. The celebrations go on for at least three days, and this was the last day when the bride went to the groom’s house.
When we got there, I went inside the house with the women and ate some food (meat and vegetable stew, steamed buns, and carrot salad),
Everyone ate the plov with spoons, but all the Dungan women used chopsticks when they were eating their stew. I heard lots of Dungan spoken and many of the people looked Chinese, if there is such a thing.
My husband was outside with the men, taking pictures and talking to people. When the groom showed up in the decorated car,
The mullah recited from the Qur’an and another man said a prayer, which we women outside participated in by doing the Amin with them, even though we couldn’t hear the prayer (you can see the men in this
When the bride came, the car pulled all the way up to the house so she could get out easily because she had a cloth over her head so she couldn’t see. My husband said she had it on from the time she left her parents’ house. They led her into one of the rooms of the house, and after we ate (lots of eating) more plov and carrot salad, we went in to see her. She was very serious again.
No alcohol, unlike the Kyrgyz wedding my husband went to, just lots and lots of tea. The plov was good. When it’s served for lots of people, the platters of plov are scooped up and topped with a hunk of meat. Then the platters are delivered to the tables and women come around and chop up the meat and everyone shares the plov.
This is the gift-taker.
After we congratulated the bride, we got back in our van and went back to the bride’s (old) house and everything was done. It was wonderful to have a chance to see this.
Here’s what my husband had to say about it:
We arrived just after 10 AM. Amira was ushered inside and I stayed outside in the courtyard at the home. Men were sitting at a table eating stew and dumplings.