As a colorful land, Sapa will always make you impressed with their exotic culture. If you have a chance to visit this town and meet the situation of a boy pulling and even making a girl cry, please don’t call a police or do anything. Believe me, it’s not a crime or a kidnapping, but the ancient custom of people in this mountainous region, the “wife catching”.

This custom play such an important role in the spiritual life of people in the northwestern Vietnam, especially in Hmong tribe. One of the most famous Vietnamese author, To Hoai contribute to popularize this tribal tradition by his monumental work and in no time people intelligently bring it to the screen with an impressive movie mainly talking about the ancient habit of “wife catching”.

Read: People in Sapa – The precious asset of this land


Sapa is known as a highland town which is famous for the colorful culture remaining intact in the pace of modern life and in no doubt “wife catching” is the remarkable highlight. “Wife catching”, “pulling wife”, “wife stealing” or even “robbing wife” are all talking about the same traditional custom, the custom of marriage  of Hmong people in Sapa.

In many Asian country, specifically in Vietnam, if a guy want to marry his beloved girl, he have to offer wedding presents which is different from the one in western countries. This is a very common trait in wedding ceremony in the whole country, but sometimes the demand for this is very unaffordable.


Originating from the thought of skipping this step, people think about a reckless method then this weird custom is brought to life. Besides, “wife caching” is supposed to be the solution for a wedding facing the rejection from the girl’s family.

Following the plan, the guy and his friends will come and “catch” and bring his beloved girl home. The girl must pretend to cry and reject his action. If he can successfully “catch” his wife, it means his courage big enough to face any challenges as well as his sincere love toward the girl. In addition, Hmong people think that the more the girl cry in that day, the more the couple will be happy in the future.


Taking the girl with him, the guy may face many obstruction from her family, then his friend will be helpful in this situation to “clear the way” for him. The girl will stay in his house in 3 days then she is “released”. If it’s just a one side love from the guy, he can “make” her falling for him in one way or another but she can try to escape within these 3 days.

If she can successfully escape his family and he will come to visit her home with an apology gift. In contrary, they will come to talk about the wedding. Traditionally, once the girl is taken by a guy, she become “unsuitable” for anyone else but that guy.

Nowadays, this you can still have a chance to watching this unique custom by making a tour in Sapa, or many tribal village in northwestern Vietnam. Though being a backward, but this tradition always remain the symbolic cultural beauty of not only Hmong people but also regional ethnic minorities.





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