In a village in central China, close to where Mao Zedong was born, two foreigners interrupt a wedding. The singer stops singing. The guests gather around us as if we came with gifts. They grab us and seat us at a table. Come, eat, drink. It’s a sign of luck if a foreigner drops by your wedding, but only if he’s a good man and he’s well taken care of.
From one rice brandy to another, we notice that the wedding traditions are surprisingly similar to ours, even though, for 4000 years, Chinese culture developed in isolation from Europe.
Drinking is a manhood competition. Dancing is a power game between the two clans. The bride gets stolen by the groom himself, who’s joined by his bros and wrestles with her family until he gets in the house and carries their girl off. Following a parade through the village and many fireworks, the dowry of pillows, bedspreads, TV sets and audio systems gets loaded into expensive cars and is delivered with the bride and all at the boy’s home.
It seems that regardless of the continent, I feel like a foreigner at any wedding.