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Across China: Stylish Tibetans add modern elements to traditional weddings

By Source:Xinhua 2017-08-18

While maintaining the old with traditional costumes, barley wine, white scarves, snacks and folk music, stylish urban Tibetans are also adding something new to their weddings, by sending invitations on social media or taking photographs in western style white dresses.

Prior to their traditional Tibetan wedding in Shannan, Tibet Autonomous Region, Purbu Zhaxi and Chonyi Lhamo sent electronic invitations to friends and relatives through the instant messaging app WeChat.

"My friends also sent WeChat wedding invitations. They are new, interesting and most importantly, very convenient. Therefore I decided to use them for my own wedding," said Purbu Zhaxi, a police officer in Lhasa, the regional capital.

"Traditional Tibetan weddings are very meaningful, but it is hard to resist the temptation of modern weddings," said the young newlywed. The couple took their wedding photos both in traditional costumes and western style suit and gown.

In recent years, many young Tibetans are choosing to include other modern elements in their weddings. For example, some hire professionals to capture the most memorable moment of their lives on film. Wedding motorcades have also appeared on the streets of Lhasa.

"Traditional wedding rituals are very complicated and reflect the rich culture," said Dowang, a 24-year-old government clerk in Lhasa.

While some are opting for electronic invitations, others still use paper invitations printed with Tibetan blessings and designs such as white clouds in blue sky.

Generally, the bride and groom rent traditional costumes two months in advance, said Dowang.

"More and more couples are choosing both Tibetan and Western wedding outfits for their photographs," said the owner of a photography studio near the Potala Palace.

Lhasa alone has more than 20 studios specializing in wedding photos.

Instead of rigidly adhering to traditions, many young urbanites are choosing to pass on traditions while showing a growing interest in modern styles, said Yeshe Dianzin from Tibet University.

Previously weddings were arranged by parents and the couple may not have even met before the ceremony. Today, young people have more freedom to look for their own partner, according to the researcher.

"The acceptance of new things will not weaken old traditions, but will enrich the marriage culture," said Yeshe Dianzin.

"We prefer the freedom to choose our other half," said Sicho Lhamo, who married Lu Jun, an ethnic Han from southwest China's Guizhou Province, two years ago. The couple, both government staff in Lhasa, met and fell in love while studying at Xiamen University in Fujian Province.

Dowang is still single, but said if possible, he would like to have both a traditional and a modern wedding.

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