Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hmong Captures

In Dong Van we were attending the market and in what looked like a soccer field, there was a public trial going on. Two men had kidnapped a local peasant girl from the Flower Hmong tribe, and sold her to a Chinese farmer. They got eight years in prison.

The Hmong, however, have a tradition in which they can "capture" a bride: all the friends of the prospective groom surround a girl when she is at the market and spirit her away on a horse. One book said it was largely a symbolic act, but to hear our guide tell it kidnapping was more descriptive. It required a larger bride price, but was done when the girl had spurned the boy, but the boy was from a relatively wealthy family. Our guide had not heard of a girl being returned to her family.

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