My Big Fat Uyghur Wedding: Parade [Video] | Xinjiang: Far West China

My Big Fat Uyghur Wedding: Parade [Video]

June 3 | 5 Comments

A Uyghur wedding ceremony is a very personal, family-oriented affair.  Only a handful of people attend, which excludes most except for family and close friends.  Only after the ceremony is complete and lunch is over does the wedding become public.

Very, very public.

If you’re lucky, as a tourist you might see a few of of these public displays in the streets of a Xinjiang city.  A truck full of Uyghur men celebrating a wedding via the parade A parade of 6-20 cars, led by a flat-bed truck, slowly winds its way through the city making as much noise and ruckus as possible.  It’s fun to watch and it’s even more fun to be a part of.

The parade usually begins at the bride’s home where the groom comes to pick her up, or at the least stops their during the journey.  Just as tears were shed between the groom and his mother during the Uyghur bachelor party, this final act of separation between the bride and her family is also accompanied by misty eyes.

In the following video you’ll see this fascinating parade in action, but before you do let me explain a few things:

  • The SUV in the front is typical of this type of parade. The driver here determines the route and the back hatch is opened so that a camera man can capture the whole parade on video.
  • The second vehicle is usually a flat bed truck with up to 15 men standing crammed in the back.  There are also two musicians who keep the party going.  Guys back here dance, yell and pretty much make fools of themselves!
  • The black cars are headed by one carrying the bride and groom, while the rest are part of the wedding party.
  • If you’re wondering, YES, this slow-moving parade causes great headaches for traffic – especially on the one-lane streets.  Oddly no one honks in frustration, though…it’s just part of life in Xinjiang.
  • As you might expect, the parade ends at the banquet hall where many people are waiting to celebrate the reception with the newlywed couple.

Follow the links to view this video on Youtube (in US) or Vimeo (China)

Isn’t that awesome!?  The entire parade lasts over an hour and, depending on the size of the city, often covers the whole town.

I wasn’t able to catch this on film, but my favorite part of the whole parade was when it passed another Uygur wedding parade going the opposite way on the street.  What followed was nothing less than a competition for the craziest, loudest, most hyped-up truck full of men.

During the video above I admit they were getting a bit tired, but as a biased judge I have to say that when the time came for rowdiness, my friends stepped up and won that competition!

Check out the rest of this 4-part series on Uyghur Weddings:

  1. The Bachelor Party
  2. The Ceremony
  3. The Parade
  4. The Celebration (Reception)

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

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  1. I’d like to know who you know that is able to muster a BMW and several audis for a wedding parade. Very impressive for a Uyghur in Xinjiang… was this a relative of Nur Bekri???

    [Reply]

    Josh on June 4th, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Like I said earlier in this series, the bride was the daughter of the highest ranking Uyghur official in our city. That position usually comes with enough guanxi to pull off a few black BMW’s! Karamay, the city where this was filmed, is filthy rich (although I’m sure they’re not happy about the new 5% oil tax).

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  2. Dude, PLEASE tell me you have a picture of yourself in one of those trucks. If so, you MUST post.

    In my understanding its traditional for people, especially the males, in this procession to harass people they’re passing on the street, in a good natured way. Apparently young males are to take advantage of the ruckus by shouting suggestive statements, if you will, to the pretty girls on the street that they pass by. I *have* seen these processions on the street (in big cities there are even “wedding seasons” where choices of wedding date get clustered together – I think usually after Ramadan – and the streets get ridiculous at these times). However, my Uyghur isn’t good enough to understand shouted colloquial jests, insults, and catcalls, so I don’t know exactly what they say.

    That being said, you were really given a treat when the two processions passed. I bet there was some REALLY bandy jests traded at that point.

    [Reply]

    Josh on June 4th, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Aaahhh! I was invited into the truck but opted to film everything instead. Looking back I should have spent at least a little time back there…I was afraid of spoiling the event by making it all about a foreigner. Wasted opportunity, I guess, but hopefully another chance will come again.

    That’s funny about the suggestive statements. I had no clue what they were saying. They’re definitely going slow enough that if a girl responded favorably he could jump out and get her number! For some reason, though, I doubt even Uyghur women are much turned on by cat calls. :)

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