Friday, 31 October 2008


Although it does look like a bomb has just blasted outside The Wenzhou International Hotel -- it isn't. It was still a certain type of explosion, but in this case, just (deafening) fireworks. What was the reason for this? A wedding. Not only does the hotel accommodate shops and an English training centre, but also function rooms for weddings to take place. Just before the bride and groom exit their large black car --with flowers glued onto the sides -- the fireworks are set off to let the world know somebody is getting married.

Unfortunately there is little "tradition" left in the wedding procedure here. The bride usually wears a white wedding dress instead of the much more culturally significant Qi Pao. Sometimes the bride and groom will sign the legal documents in private before arriving for the ceremony, but other than that, everything else takes place in a hotel function room. The room is often decorated with things like hearts, pink ribbons, and large photographs of the couple posing in various locales.

When the event kicks off, there will usually be a host who introduces the couple and tells jokes about the family by shouting very loudly down a microphone. The couple will then say a few words, maybe sing a song, play a game, and ganbei (bottoms up) drinks with all of the guests sitting around each table. Food and drink is continually served throughout the procedure with military precision. All of the dishes are standard expensive Chinese offerings, usually a lot of seafood, like Crab, Lobster, Oyster and Turtle.

Unlike a western wedding, nobody brings gifts, instead they will give a red envelope with money inside. Just like the red envelope I mentioned here (but with a little more money than I got inside mine).

It's Halloween tonight, which means I will be working. I have been asked to host the event with a tutor, Candy. Even though it is my day off I still need to go into work to "practise" my lines with her. I get the feeling that the management are taking this holiday far too seriously, as if it is a big occassion like Christmas Day.

I have finally completed my costume -- which took a great deal more effort than I had hoped for. All I needed to find was two simple items: a green waistcoat and white face paint. Only the kindness of others has made it possible for me to find everything. Kimi went to various shops trying to find the clothing without success, and yesterday Michelle, a student, helped me to find a purple jacket and lend me a tie. Finally, the minute after Kimi found a shop that sells white face paint, Johan calls me up to tell me his girlfriend has a ton of the stuff at her school (she is a middle school teacher). If you haven't guessed, I am going as The Joker from the film, Dark Knight. Not an origianl idea if I was in England, but considering I am in a country where the film hasn't even been released, it should be quite surprising I hope.

Another student said something interesting at the end of my final class last night too. She told me the class was "delicious". I didn't feel like I should correct her on that.


Ihengsi said...

Hope you'll post some pictures/video of the party.

Wayne said...

it's really interesting to know how to decribe the chinese firecracker as a foreigner..^_^keep writing.

Chris said...

Hi Ihengsi, just this minute I added some pictures of the party. I wanted to take my camcorder but I was worried the low light might make for a very dark video.

Thanks for your comment Wayne, I'm glad you find my blog interesting.

Anonymous said...

Chinese weddings=equal fun for Chinese people

Chinese weddings for the Laowai= an exercise in torture, that should be condemned by the UN for human rights abuses, much like KTV in China:(:(

Fortunately to maintain my sanity I always steadfastly refused to attend either of the two.

whats your msn again Chris? Puretty please:)

Chris said...

Haha, yes, I can back you up on that one.

My MSN is actually the same as my email address. If you've lost it I can send you an email again.

Mabel Poon said...

In HK, the weddings are quite western! But we still need to give money or 999.9 gold or diamond to the friends when u attend their weddings. Since last year, I have been to about 40 weddings, I will be a broke soon! Hhaha!