Three days in Beijing

Categories: Amis, Anecdote, Tourisme
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Published on: 05/06/2012

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News from Beijing

Categories: Amis, Ville
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Published on: 04/29/2012

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Chinese wedding

Categories: Amis, Anecdote
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Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: 01/11/2012

{Note: The map above is a plain map, because Google maps satellite data is out of line with the roadmap data over the whole of China. To find the same place on the satellite map, you need to look 0.003° (300m) to the North, and 0.005° (500m) to the East of the mark…}

Last Saturday (January 7th) I was invited to the wedding of my band’s bass player. At noon, Yinghui and me arrived at the Small Blue Whale Hotel (小篮鲸酒店, xiaolanjing jiudian1) where we were supposed to meet Wu Yang, his wife, and their guests. Wu Yang, as could be expected, was busy, so he sent a friend to escort us upstairs, we follow him.

On the third floor, we met Wu Yang, wearing a red robe of ancient style (but lighter than the heavy silk robes of the mandarins) and an embroidered waistcoat, all in gold and bright colors. I give him the 红包 (hongbao, red envelope2) I had prepared the day before. Afterwards, we entered the room where the feast will take place. Brimming with people, draped in red, with red lanterns.

view of the main room
The main room

Since the room is full, Wu Yang invites us to seat in a nearby smaller box, with some of his nearest friends. We make small talk with them, current colleagues or university classmates of Wu Yang or his wife. After a moment, the wedding begins. The speaker takes his microphone, and begins the presentation of the newlyweds, thanks everyone that came, and Wu Yang symbolically goes and gets his wife, who took place in the canvas pavilion in the center of the room.

The wife's pavilion in the banquet room
The wife's pavilion in the banquet room

Back on the platform, the newlyweds drink one glass with each of their parents and parents-in-law, then both fathers in turn speak to thank every attendant for coming. The couple then drink together, arms entwined, before bowing to each other, foreheads touching, three times.

Les mariés, inclinés, fronts se touchant.
Bowing newlyweds

Once the ceremony expedited, begins the tour of the tables, each of which the couple must drink a glass. We then go back to our box, to enjoy the meal3, and happily drink together. Wu Yang and his wife came into our box to drink with us and grab a bite, seeing that they have yet to eat anything. Soon after come the gift bearers, who give to each of us a small cardboard box containing a few sweets and a pair of assorted key-chains. Which comes at the right time, I was just looking for a keyring. The box is decorated with the traditional “double happiness” symbol, and red, like is the norm for weddings. The second keyring and the box will decorate my office.

boîte et porte-clés reçus en cadeau lors du mariage
Box and keyrings

Afterwards came the parents of the couple, who drink a glass with us, and tell me they are really glad I’m here, seeing how far I come from. I didn’t dare correct them, though that day I was only coming from 后湖 (Houhu, the rear lake, former fish farms district, and the place where my current apartment was built.) and one of Wu Yang’s friends came from Guangzhou, quite farther.

When we were done eating, we went to a karaoke, to celebrate between us. My band’s drummer, just back from France, joins us there. We end the evening in a restaurant, before escorting the couple home, and going to bed.

  1. 酒店, jiudian, is usually translated with “hotel”, but is usually more of a big restaurant, luxurious, on several floors with private boxes.
  2. The traditional way of offering money as a gift, used during the New Year and weddings… The envelopes can be bought almost anywhere, especially now we are approaching the New Year celebrations.
  3. I finally had the occasion to eat tortoise, the plate that was on my table during my wedding having been eaten before I got back…
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