When Dan and Fro decided to join us for the reception in Xiaogan, they were expecting one maybe two nights of parties. Indeed, I was too. Alas we all had not yet learned the Chinese concept of “Re Qing,” which means “Passionate Welcome.”
Immediately after the reception, Tian’s family’s friends started demonstrating incredible “Re Qing.” Those who had previously been our guests in turn rolled out the red carpet and treated our entire family to an incredible amount of food and drink. After gorging ourselves on a huge lunch that afternoon, we were treated to a big dinner, followed by more meals the next day and formal dinners for the rest of the week. It was truly remarkable, and it was quite the linguistic and cultural experience for all involved.
The week of feasting was at the same time exhilarating and exhausting. In addition to the food, there was a lot of drinking, which at times became competitive (always friendly) on the part of some the men, who took joy in seeing how well Americans could hold their Chinese liquor. As the groom I was relieved from the heaviest drinking, but mostly because Dan and Fro stepped up and represented me and at times America.
We all sincerely appreciated the generosity of all of Tian’s family and friends as they celebrated our wedding and welcomed Dan, Fro, and me to Xiaogan. It was an unforgettable immersion into Chinese culture and the concept of “Re Qing.” If they ever make it to our part of the US in the future, we can’t wait to return the favor.