Lhoba people have three types of marriage, i.e.
mercenary marriage, arranged
marriage and trial marriage. Before the democratic reform, Lhoba people marry with people
of different clans or marry with people of the same class. They carry out very strict
measures to prohibit people of the same clan to marry with each other. As soon as such a
marriage is found, the lovers are sure to be killed. Some young people of the same clan
love each other; they must elope to remote places to avoid being investigated into or
killed by people of their own clan.
Hierarchy mercenary marriage means that Lhoba people divide the people
within a tribe into several classes, such a Maide, Mairang, Wubu and Nieba etc. Among
them, Maide class belongs to "white bone" people; all the rest classes are
"black bone" people in some tribes. If a person of the white bone class marries
a person of the black bone class or he (she) has sexual actions with a person of the black
bone class; the person of the white bone class will be reduced to a lower class, such as
Mairang class; some other tribes will not reduce such a person's class, but the person
will be cast aside.
In the Lhoba language, there are no words such as "marry off"
or "take in". They have only "sell" or "buy". From this, we
can see how popular mercenary marriage is among them.
In the adults of Lhoba people, there is seldom any one that has no sexual experiences. If
a young man and a young woman are in love, the young man can live at the woman's family
and work for her family. Of course they will have sexual actions. That is the trial
The period of trial marriage is different. Short ones may take only a
few months; longer ones can last as long as two or three years. If both the man and the
woman think a marriage is appropriate, the man's family will go to the woman's family to
seek a marriage alliance. Of course they will have some bargain. If they don't think their
marriage is appropriate, they can just say goodbye.
We can still see the influence of the past in the marriage of Lhoba
people today. But the traditions of polygamy or polyandry have become something of the
past. Young men and young women have more freedom in their marriage. The nation in the
great canyon is living happily now.