Miao wedding: " Grabbing " is a must
Besides popular forms of marriage, there is a marriage custom called "grabbing" marriage among some people of the Miao ethnic group.
There are two kinds of grabbing marriage: One is based on an agreement with each other. The other is based on the man forcing to marry the woman no matter she agrees or not.
The former is a symbolic ceremony to show their decision to get married. The man will appoint several friends to wait for the woman. When the woman goes out of her home, they will go off with the woman. The woman's brothers will chase the group of people, when they find she has disappeared, up to the man's home. Then, the man's family should treat the people from the woman's side, who are in the chase, with a big feast or even give some gifts like money to them.
When the woman reaches the man's house, she will be covered by a paper umbrella. Thereafter, a woman elder will use a rooster to circle around the woman for three rounds. It is called "catching soul." Then, the woman officially becomes a member of the man's family. Two or three days later, the man's family will ask a third party to propose marriage to the woman's parents. The woman's parents will finally agree after some fake quarrels. Afterwards, they will choose a day to hold the wedding, before which the woman gets sent home again.
Of the two kinds of grabbing marriage, the latter is that the man asks several friends to grab the woman and take her to his home. According to religious traditions of the Miao ethnic group, the woman then loses the right to go back home. Days later, the man's family will ask a third party to propose to her parents. If they agree, they can hold a wedding.
In some places, it is the custom that the woman can live in her mother's home after marriage. She only goes to the man's to help on the farm or during festivals. But she has to be back to her mother's home the next morning. After they have a baby, the woman can live in the man's home all the time.
There are few divorces in the Miao ethnic group and the divorce proceedings are quite simple. The two parties wanting a divorce will drink wine on the way to their respective families and swear not to contact each other again. Or they will ask others to testify it. People show sympathy toward widows and they are allowed to marry again.