Drinking Rites on Major Festivals

Last Update: 2008-3-12; By chinatravelservice

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Major festivals in China are usually associated with special drinking activities. For example, people drink "calamus wine" on the Dragon Boat Festival and "chrysanthemum wine" on the Douth Ninth Festival and "New Year wine" on the New Year's Eve. In some places such as in some countrysides in Jiangxi province, after planting rice seedlings in spring, people will get together happily and drink wine for celebbration. They will have more reasons to drink wine when celebrating a good harvest. Hence, when banquets are over, there are often drunkards in every household.

The New Year's Eve is the festival Chinese people attaches the most attention to and the day for family reunion. The New-Year- Eve's dinner is the most sumptuous banquet in one year. Wine is dispensable in the gathering dinner including those families who are poor and seldom drink wine in normal times.

New Year Wine of the Korean Nationality

This wine is mostly brewed for the Korean New Year Festival "Rosh Hashana". The "New Year Wine" takes rice as main ingredients and several Chinese traditional medicinal materials such as root of balloonflower, parsnip, mountain pepper and cassia bark as supplementary ingredients. It is used for self-drinking and entertaining guests during the period of the Spring Festival. It is considered to have the effects of expelling the evil and prolong life span.

New Grain Wine of the Hani Nationality

Each year, before the autumn harvest, the Hani nationality, who live in Yuanjiang of Yunnan Province, holds a sumptuous ceremony of "drinking new grain wine" to celebrate joyously bumper grain harvest and safety of people and livestock according to traditional customs.

The"New Grain Alcohol" refers to a kind of home-made wine. The locals will pick up a handful of grain about to be ripe from the fields and hang it upside down at the edge of a fence made of thin bamboo strips praying for a good harvest. One hundred and ten grains from the strip will be removed, some being fried into pop-grain and some being marinated in wine source in a bottle.

Wedding Ceremony Drinking Rite

"Wedding feast" is always the pronoun of the wedding ceremony. Holding a wedding feast is namely holding a wedding ceremony. Going to drink wine at a wedding feast is just taking part in a wedding ceremony.

"Engagement feast" is held on the engagement ceremony. Having held the "engagement feast" means that the marriage has been settled and the marriage articles have already taken effect. After that, the two parts are not allowed to break off an engagement or repudiate a marriage contract arbitrarily.

"Feast of Return to the Bride's home":On the next day after the wedding ceremony, the newly wed couple will "return to the bride's home", namely, coming back to the bride's family and visit the elders. The bride's family will hold a feast to entertain them, which is popularly called "the feast of return to the bride's home". The feast is merely held for the lunch. After the feast, the couple goes back to their home.

"Union of wine cups":This is a traditional rite of the wedding procedure in our country. There has been the term of "union of wine cups" since the Tang Dynasty. During the Song Dynasty, it was a prevailing practice to connect two wine cups together with colored silks and coil up a colored knot such as a true-lover's knot for the bride and bridegroom to drink up each other's wine cup or pass the wine cups and drink in turns. This customs is very common in our country. For example, in the area of Shaoxing, the rite of "union of wine cups" is presided by a middle-aged woman, who has felicity with both son and daughter among the relatives of the bridegroom's side. Before drinking "the union of wine cups", the bride and bridegroom sitting on the bed will first be fed with several small sweet dumplings in soup. Two cups will be poured with Huadiao rice wine and the newly wed couple will respectively take a sip. And then the remaining wine in the two cups will be mixed and divided into two cups again, which means that "I am in you and you are in me". After they drink the wine, handfuls of wedding candies will be cast outside the door for the crowed of onlookers to scramble for.

Hand crossing wine on the wedding ceremony:In order to show the newly wed couples are in love with each other, they will respectively hold a cup of wine and cross their hands and each take a sip.


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