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In Gelao, Being A Virgin Brings Bad Luck

The people of Gelao (Gelo) people of Guizhou Province, China are a people with traditions that make them special.

Although in China, they are features that make them unique. Only a few from the population of about 580,000 Gelos scattered in over 18 counties in the Western Guizhou Province can speak their language (the original language which belongs to the Chinese-Tibetan language family.)


What this means is that most Gelos speak Chinese Hmong, Yi, or Buyi language. This is partly because of their relations with the Miaos, Yis and Bouyeis.

Less than 50 years ago, the people still wore their traditional attires: jackets with sleeves designed with patterns of fish scales.

To each man his own tradition

A spiritual people, they engage in ancestral worship. They still uphold some of their several taboos. Some of them include: not standing or sitting close to a door, women under 40 are not allowed to fetch water from the well and the visitors cannot attend a funeral ceremony.

Because of their population, marriage was between families so that each married his cousin.
Their tradition holds that when a girl is ripe for marriage and is still a virgin, ill luck will follow her family and whomever she marries. To signify to men who have an interest in her that she is still a virgin, she will knock off two of her teeth.

After the marriage ceremony, the family of the bride will escort her with an umbrella to the groom’s house.

When she successfully gets to the house, she will pour water on her new family. This, they believe, will chase away evil spirits and bring good luck.

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