Throughout history, various cultures have had strange marriage rituals and requirements of their women. But none of the prerequisites are perhaps as strange, or as appropriate, as the custom of crying before marriage, practiced in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. According to custom, it is mandatory for a bride to cry at her own wedding. Wedding weeping is said to have originated during the Warring States Period, from 475 to 221 BC, when historical records reveal that the princess of the Zhao State was to be married into the Yan State.
At the moment of the princess’ departure, her mother is said to have cried at her feet, asking her to return home as soon as possible. This is said to be the first crying marriage ever, and somehow has transformed to involve the bride crying. The crying marriage ritual reached its peak during the early 17th century, and remained popular until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911. Although the custom is not as popular now as it used to be, there are still a large number of families that practice it with gusto.
In fact, crying is a necessary procedure for marriage in China’s Sichuan Province, among the Tujia people. The ritual itself is pretty simple, the bride has got to shed tears. If she doesn’t, or is unable to, her neighbors will look down upon her as one of ‘poor breeding’. Worse still, she could even become the laughing stock of her village. In one extreme case, a bride was reportedly beaten by her mother for not crying at her wedding.
In stark contrast, in North America it has become a ritual for brides to cry after the wedding, when they suddenly realize what they have done and commited themselves to. This is evidenced by a marriage failure rate of at least 50%, proving that at least half of all North Americans are much more interested in performing the ritual of marriage, than they are to fulfilling the commitment of it.