About half year ago, one of my Taiwanese friend Zina mentioned that her cousin is going to get married. Finally, this moment has come and I was invited to take part at the traditional Chinese wedding.
Although the wedding was not taking place before Sunday night, Zina invited me to come one night earlier and spend some time in her home in YIlan. Arriving on Saturday night by train after my trip Jiaoxi waterfalls, Zina and her father picked me up by car. When we reached their home, the family was waiting for us with dinner. I learned that Zina’s father is building houses, mother is housewife and younger brother is learning how to repair cars. After the dinner, I was accommodated in the guest room and fell asleep right after lying down, exhausted after adventurous day.
In the morning, the smell of breakfast woke me up. Zina’ s younger brother prepared salty pancake for us. Later Zina took me around neighborhood of her house. Most interesting in Yilan is the presence of the paddy rice fields, many houses are surrounded by water and it looks pretty. When Zina mentioned the vast number of snakes in the area (including those ones who would often appear even in her house) I was quite glad that I am not going to spend there another night. After lunch, it was already time to start going for the wedding and so we went by car to Jiaoxi, where the bights home is located. Soon, other members of the bright’s family started arriving and we would be fourteen people by the moment the moment the groom arrived, accompanied with three other men (his friends and uncle).
Coming out of fancy car, the first thing groom had to do was – tuning in red envelope. This is transaction discussed by both of the families much in advance and as I heard, usually there is big discussion about how much money should be involved before the agreement is reached. Although the bright also has the duty of handing in red envelope when the groom brings her to their new house, there amount in the bright’s envelope is usually a half of the groom’s.
The next- and seems to me that most important part – of the celebration was taking place at outdoor restaurant build at the side of the main street in Jiaoxi. There was total number of 30 tables and most of the paces were full already. We had to walk all the way until the other side of the restaurant (and give all the guests chance to see that there is some foreigner visiting here) to find our seats. Since it is groom’s family to cover the expenses of the wedding dinner (while the bight’s family cover the engagement one), there would be only three tables available for the bight’s family.
Although the restaurant itself wasn’t too fancy, the food definitely made it up. The waiters kept bringing at least 15 courses one after another, including all kinds of fishes which I could not even name sometimes. It was also my first time to eat crab. During the meal I was constantly entertained by the bright’s uncle, who was seated next to me. Our friendship started when he opened bottle of whiskey and no one else at the table wanted to have glass with him, but me. Since then he always tried to add more to my glass every time I drink a sip, but later I had to change to beer so that I won’t get completely wasted. After two hours of eating, drinking and chatting (during which the bright managed to chance the dress three times), it was announced that the event is over and everybody started to leave quickly. With stomach totally full, it was not an easy job. “And you see, that is the only reason we attend weddings here – to have fancy dinner like this,” said Zina before she fall into the seat of the car.