Old Miao songs about marriage. 9.

Transcribed by Yang Yung-xin.


In this song, the bride’s parents, reluctant to allow her to go, but unwilling to turn a good offer down, refused to commit themselves. In the face, however, of a very persuasive middleman, they eventually agreed to leave the final decision to the bride. Fortunately she was in no doubt what she wanted to do.

The text is a little confusing in that it uses exactly the same formula, "the woman, the mother, and the man, the father," for the parents of both bridegroom and bride. Up to, and including, line 17 it refers to the former, while line 18 and thereafter, it refers to the latter. In translation, in order to make a clear distinction, the bride’s parents are described as "the woman, her mother, and the man, her father".

In naming the months of the year the Miao adopted the same cycle of twelve animals as used by the Chinese. These are, of course, months of the lunar calendar. Mentioned in this song are Horse-month which is the second month, Sheep-month which is the third month, Rat-month which is the eighth month, Ox-month which is the ninth month, Rabbit-month which is the eleventh month and Dragon-month which is the twelfth-month. The new year usually began in late January or early February.

Literal Transcription

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