Canal Culture
Boatmen in Grand Canal lived on boat. They planted flowers and fruits in pots and raised chickens and birds in cage. They usually tied two ducks on stern to test waterborne and weather. Most young boatman and boatwomen got married on boat, though some married boys or girls ashore. In the past, few girls were willing to marry boatmen. As the folk song singing “my fairy girl won’t marry boatmen, or she had to wait in vain most of time. When he returns one day finally, she has to repair his clothes deep into night”. Nowadays, many couples got married with help of go-betweens. Some made acquaintance with and fell in love with the other half on the next boat when the two boats met or advanced side by side. On the date of marriage, the boats of the two families would dock on opposite banks of the Canal. Girls from ashore would go to the groom’s boat by bridal sedan, while the girls of boatmen’s family would go to groom by small boat. The bride would wear phoenix crown on head and put on red rope when being sent to the groom by boat with hilarious blessings from friends and family. The groom’s family would provide newly furnished room (cabin) for the couples. After the couple had bowed to heaven and earth and then to the god of boat, friends and families would celebrate with wines. The next morning, the both boats departed and headed towards their original direction, while the bride remained on the groom’s boat and became its labor member.
© 2012 Hangzhou Canal Group Company
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