The Miao people in China have curious wedding traditions. One of them is to dress a bride head-to-toe in silver. Traditionally, every bride should have plenty of silver adornments on her head, neck, shoulders, torso, and arms. All this silver can weigh about 13 kg. What bride wouldn’t want that much sparkle on her wedding gown?! But it isn’t just a way of beautifying the bride – this tradition has a strong and old background. These silver jewels play a very important role in the future of a newlywed couple.
Tanglong village, China. Miao community.
My name is Yang Di. And I’m Miao.
The Miao people is an ethnic group from Southern China. There are about 11-12 million of Miao in the world. They live in China, Vietnam, Laos, the USA, Thailand, and other countries. This ethnic group has a very unique and well-preserved culture.
Where we live, silver accessories are symbolic. Wealthy, high-status families have more silver accessories. They display their silver to the public at big events. Also, silver (yin) sounds similar to luck (yun), so people believe silver can bring good luck.
We keep our wealth in silver because the Miao people are a migrant minority group. During migration, it’s hard to carry much wealth, so we make the silver into accessories. Generally, a set of silver accessories weighs 25 or 26 jin (about 28-29 pounds or 12-13 kg).
A can wear the accessories for 3 hours before getting tired.
Miao girls wear silver on their wedding day because, since we were born, our parents have been preparing out dowries.
I would regret getting married without wearing silver.
When I wear the silver accessories from my mother, I feel happy; and I’m glad she prepared them for me.