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A WATER TOWN WEDDING (仅供欣赏~)

Sunday, August 5, 2012 | BY: BEIJING ZHU (朱蓓静)
I didn’t expect much of Wuzhen (乌镇), the well-branded water town in Tongxiang City, Zhejiang Province, when I headed there on a hectic weekend for an old-style wedding ceremony. The town is a tourist hot spot, so I assumed it would be too noisy for me to relax.
I arrived in the late afternoon, as the wedding ceremony was just about to begin. A wedding boat (喜船 xǐ chuán) decorated with red silk knots awaited the bride and groom, both dressed in traditional Chinese red wedding suits, with a bridal veil covering the bride’s head. The new couple boarded a boat, waving to the crowds on the bank as they left the dock. The boat drifted beneath several stone bridges before it stopped at a bank where a bridal sedan chair (花轿 huājiào) awaited the bride. Surrounded by blaring horns and gongs, the bride in her sedan chair passed through a narrow alley before stopping in front of the Festive Hall (喜庆堂 xǐqìng táng), a place where the couple is to perform formal bows (拜堂 bàitáng). The bride stepped out of the sedan chair, accompanied by her bridesmaid, while the groom led the way.
Crowds of people poured into the ancient hall to witness the wedding ceremony. I was pushed to the back of the crowd and could hardly catch sight of the couple. It was impossible to tell the wedding guests from the tourists. As the new couple made their traditional bows to heaven and earth, then to both parents and to each other, I overheard a conversation between a man and a woman in the crowd:
“Are they shooting a TV drama?” the man asked.
“It looks like it,” the woman replied.
“No, it’s a real wedding,” I corrected. “The bride and groom are my friends.”
“Cool!” the man marveled. “How about we redo our wedding ceremony in the same way as this?” he joked to his wife.
After performing the bows, the couple walked into the bridal chamber (洞房 dòngfáng) while swarmed by the crowd. The groom lifted the veil covering the bride’s head with a chopstick-like hook scale (喜秤 xǐ chèng) and the two drank jiaobeijiu (交杯酒), which requires the couple to intertwine arms and then drink from their respective cups. It reminded me of a scene in a Zhang Yimou’s movie like “To Live” (《活着》). The groom, who grows up near Wuzhen, decides to hold his wedding ceremony in a water town to experience the way the ancient people got married. With ancient wedding chambers, stone bridges and waterways, Wuzhen provides

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    It reminded me of a scene in a Zhang Yimou’s movie like “To Live” (《活着》). The groom, who grows grew up near Wuzhen, decides decided to hold his wedding ceremony in a water town to experience the way the ancient people got married. With ancient wedding chambers, stone bridges and waterways, Wuzhen provides

     

    These are the only too tiny little mistakes I could find, otherwise it seems pretty much perfect! Interesting piece too, it wouldn't look out of place in a magazine or the lifestyle/travel section of a newspaper.


    Which scene in "To Live" are you refering to btw? I watched it yesterday, but the only wedding scene which I remember is when the daughter gets married. Since she was marrying a red guard at the height of the Cultural Revolution, a traditional wedding wasn't really on the cards! I seem to remember a cardboard cut-out boat and picture of Chairman Mao instead.

     

    Which scene

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