On October 1st, which happens to be China’s National day, we all set out at 6:30am for a wedding out in the countryside. The groom is a doctor working with LIGHT and a precious friend. We were excited to be able to spend the day celebrating with him out in his home village, two hours outside the city. Our friend is a member of the Manchu people group and his hometown is in a Manchu minority Autonomous County of our province.
Our city is in a flat plain, so it was really nice to be in an area with some hills and low mountains.
After the ceremony, we all piled into the bus and were taken a short distance to the groom’s home down a small village road. We were really surprised that the reception was at his home; usually these celebratory meals are held at large restaurants or hotels.
The groom’s family home had a large courtyard crowded with guests. They had a tent set up where they served the guests in shifts, about 50 at a time. There was also a stage set up on one side of the courtyard where a woman was singing loud Chinese rock songs. When all the foreign guests arrived, we were quite a spectacle! They lead us into the home where we prepared our hongbao, the red envelope for our monetary wedding gift, and signed a guestbook with well wishes for the new couple. Then we were directed to sit under the tent at the tables which were promptly filled with dish after dish of Chinese food.
We had a big day of learning about Chinese culture as we celebrated with our friends! The kids were a bit overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds and smells – we definitely took them out of their cultural comfort zone. But they handled it like troopers, as they always do.