Thursday, February 03, 2005

Taiwanese weddings

I went to my second cousin's wedding on Sunday. I'd never seen him before, but went as my mom's representative. The most interesting fact about the wedding is that since my great-uncle manages a temple, all of the food served was vegetarian. Vegetarianism is quite common in this Bhuddist-influenced culture, and its amazing what can be done with soybeans, including vegetrian "sashimi" and "shrimp tempura." Like most weddings in Taiwan, this was a multi-course affair, that ended with little paper cups of durian ice cream that I dared not touch.

This was also a more traditional Taiwanese wedding, held on the road near the groom's home. A tent was set up, but not the white, billowy kind that one imagines in the States. These have are the red-and-blue striped plastic awning ubiquitous throughout Asia, with over 50 tables were crowded underneath, complete with red plastic stools for seating. As usual, a good portion of the guests did not bother to dress up for the wedding: sweats, sneakers, and windbreakers.

As a foreigner, I often feel that Taiwanese weddings are impersonal. But at the same time, this wedding was very personal, as my aunt took me around and introduced me as my mother's daughter. My distant relatives scrutiny of my face, followed by exclamations of "she looks just like her mother!" provided a brief tunnel through time to my mother's past.

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