CHINA — A joyous occasion turned into a nightmare for two bridesmaids when a group of groomsmen violently hazed them during a wedding.
The two women from Shandong province in eastern China were sprayed with fire extinguishers as part of a wedding hazing ritual on Sept 20.
Wedding hazing, known as “nao hun” or “disturbing the wedding”, is a tradition in China which involves the bride, groom and their entourage completing embarrassing, oftentimes humiliating, challenges and pranks.
Footage filmed by bystanders captured the bridesmaids being dragged and relentlessly sprayed by fire extinguishers, even as they screamed in protest and collapsed to the ground.
One bridesmaid was seen curling up in an attempt to shield herself from the rapid barrage of powder from the extinguisher.
Another was forcibly pulled from the car and continuously doused with fire extinguisher foam, even as she desperately tried to flee.
It is unclear if the bridesmaids suffered injuries from the attack. Local police are currently investigating the case, reported Chinese media.
A source told Chinese media that the prank was pre-planned and the bridesmaids were aware of the prank in advance. They were also given raincoats to protect themselves from the foam.
However, netizens were unsatisfied with the explanation.
“If it was discussed in advance, then why are the bridesmaids crying and screaming while falling to the ground?”, asked one netizen in response to the video posted online.
The viral video, which was shared by multiple Chinese media outlets, received 186,000 likes and 95,000 comments on a single Douyin post by Hubei Daily News as of Tuesday (Oct 3).
Chinese netizens also questioned why the bride and groom did not step in when the hazing turned violent.
“It is such an insult and you don’t stand up for it, bride, do you think it’s entertaining? The man in black blatantly tramples on the dignity of the women and acts as a hooligan in the name of a wedding banquet? It’s really vulgar!”, wrote one netizen.
Online observers also criticised the groomsmen for using wedding hazing as a pretext to harass the women, calling it a “hooligan act taking the opportunity to vent”.
Another said: “Only people of low character can do such pranks. To put it lightly, it is called a lack of morals. At worst, it’s a crime.”
Netizens pointed out the potential health risks of the prank: “Spraying a fire extinguisher on someone can cause suffocation. Directly sue him for intentional injury.”
Inhaling the contents of a fire extinguisher can pose a health hazard, as the chemicals can irritate the airways and cause respiratory problems. In severe cases, the inhalation of chemicals can lead to pneumonia, seizures and other respiratory infections.
Wedding hazing has a notorious reputation for harming its participants in China.
In June, a group of groomsmen in Shandong province sparked public outrage when they tied bridesmaids to lamp posts and set off firecrackers under their dresses as part of a wedding hazing ritual, reported South China Morning Post.
Similarly, in Shandong in January, a group of groomsmen were heavily criticised online for piling on the bride, pinning her to the ground, and spraying foam all over her face.