I met a mother and her daughter on the bus one day. They were going to make preparations for her daughter’s wedding in two weeks’ time. I gathered the courage to ask if I could attend the wedding, and was invited.
On the wedding day, the daughter sat on her bed with her back to the door, waiting for the groom to come and take her back to his home. She was not allowed to get out of bed, even to eat or drink.
When the bridegroom arrived, the bride began to cry, as she did not want to leave her parents. But one of her relatives picked her up, with her face covered, and took her to the car. I joined the other guests following the bridal car to the groom’s house, where the imam was waiting to perform the wedding ceremony.
After the wedding, the couple moved to the bridal chamber. Outside, the bride’s dowry items, such as washing machines, refrigerators, electrical appliances, and beautiful new dresses, were displayed one by one. Inside, peanuts and dates were placed on the bed to symbolize the birth of a son every year.
There, according to custom, some guests came asking for monetary gifts in red envelopes. If the amount was deemed insufficient, however, an unhappy guest would stab the bride with some sharp object. The groom might at times receive the stabbing in place of his bride. Some say that once, a groom was stabbed into disability.
On the patio, the parents of the bridegroom are surprised to see their faces painted with black ink to look like clowns, to be teased by the guests in different role plays. This was another of their customs. The following day, a banquet was held at a restaurant for the male guests. Female guests have their banquet on a separate day.
In Hui culture, the woman is the field and the responsibility of the field is to produce more, while the man is the cultivator and the goal is to harvest. Unions for love are generally few and far between, especially in rural areas.
If a Hui woman comes to faith in Jesus, pressure from her family is a great challenge and often not easy to resolve. It is almost impossible for a young Hui girl to avoid an arranged marriage, and it is even harder for her to remain single. She desperately needs the care and intercession of believers.
Note: the Hui number around 14 million people, living in several Asian countries. They are almost 100% Muslims. They are classified as a frontier people group still needing pioneer work by cross-cultural workers.