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Walking Marriage of the Mosuo

2014-01-10 16:56:00   By:中国东盟传媒网    Hits:

In northwestern Yunnan, an ancient group the Mosuo lives around the mysterious and ancient lake. They still keep the maternal line that the females manage the family’s affairs and carry on the family line. The male and the female don’t marry each other. They have the "Walking Marriage", which is not affected by parents and family’s intervention. The Mosuo people don’t pay much attention to each other’s parentage, identity and status. The character, ability and appearance are the most important factors.

Mosuo People is a small ethnic group of China. They mainly inhabit in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in southwest China. Their culture is matriarchal. Lugu Lake is a very famous inhabitant area for Mosuo People and has become a hot tourist destination in recent years for the mysterious culture.


The human marriage and family form have experienced a long evolution. The human marriage changes from group marriage to consanguineous family and from pairing marriage to monogamy. At present, all of humanity are generally monogamous, but the nationality around the Lugu Lake still remains the ancient features of paring marriage. A Xiao is the marriage form of pairing marriage. The men and women with the relationship of love call each other A Xiao. Their relation is not bonded by marriage. Both men and women still belong to their own families. The form of marriage is that the men visit the women’s houses and live there. The next morning, they will come back to their home. The children belong to the women’s family and the men generally don’t assume the responsibility to bring up their children. The relationships between men and women are not fixed.

Customs of the Marriage

The relationship of A Xiao is free. The emotion is the main basis. A man and a woman fall in love with each other because of their honesty, pretty appearance or lively characters. They can express their willingness. In general, the man will give the clothes or kerchief as the gift. If the woman is willing to build up the relationship, she also can grab a pen or a piece of cloth. Besides, she also can present the man her embroidery belt. There also exists another form. When a man loves a woman, he should let the matchmaker take the woman’s dress, belts, shoes, tea and other things to the girl’s house and show the meaning. The girl’s mother should ask for the girl’s advice. If the girl agrees, the gifts will be received immediately. The girl should give linen trousers and linen girdle in return. The first time the man goes to the girl’s house, he should be companied with the matchmaker or one of his best friends with tea, sugar and so on which will be distributed to the members of the same clan to show her daughter’s A Xiao. Terminating this relationship is also convenient. After a period of time, if they have personality clash between each other, both the man and woman can put forward to end up the relationship. The male can say he will not come again or he would not visit the woman for a long term, so the engagement will be cancelled. If the woman wants to end the relationship, she can let the man not come again or refuse the man to enter the house. No matter the man or the woman know another part find A Xiao during the period of their relationship, he or she usually send a burlap bag with burning coals, pepper or chicken feather to warn or break off the relations. If the man or woman is willing to apology, he or she will send a package for the apology, so that they can make up the relationship.

Why This Kind of Marriage Being

There are five reasons. The first is that the Mosuo matriarchal society is not completely collapsed and the outside influence is also weak. The second is that the social productivity is backward, not forming individual ownership. Females are still the main force to seek for the life materials. The blood knot makes the traditional concept deeply root. The last one is that the upper officials are not against the A Xiao marriage.

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