Published: May 27th 2012May 27th 2012
My last day in Pingyao was an anthropological session. I immersed in the Chinese ceremonies. At least in the onces in this area.I witnessed a Marriage and a Funeral today.
I will tell you what I learnt.
As you probably know RED is the most common color here. Why? It a color that mean good luck and prosperity, in the second stage of importance it comes the yellow which mean loyalty (like their flag and the communism symbols, a coincidence?) Anyway, in weddings everything is full of RED and YELLOW.
It is very interesting because the couple goes in a red car with flowers on in (plastic ones!) and behind the relatives and friends follows them also in red cars. There are gold yellow ribbon all around.
The funeral was a more impactful ceremoy because it congregates a lot of people in different positions, and elements in a procession around the town.
Men go at the beginning of the caravan, carrying a small box with some pictures of the death person (in my case I saw a woman coffin) then several cars with flowers (plastics!) then more guys carrying more pictures of this woman, then the big Coffin passes hold by men, and in the back the woman and kids. Death is a White color ceremony. Everybody should dress White. Most of the people have a chef’s White hats, and kids that were the closed family has the same hat in yellow. Nobody is crying. There are some even marching doing some music. No red in this occasion. I am still thinking in the Chef´s hats...
Today It was an intense day because I felt like a celebrity, I was asked to take picture with several groups of Chinese tourists. Westerns are an exotic specie for them. As exotic as it is for me observe how they behave, talk, eat, treat their kids, etc. For example, I thought they would be introvert or shy people. That was my original idea of Asian people, but it seem that is a stereotype, mainly true for Japanese but not here. Chinese are loudly and friendly. Very similar, in a way, to Brazilian, if I may compare them. They are lively, nationalistic, and proud of their heritage and culture, no care much about fashion or combination of colors …to name a few similarities. My point was that strangers came to me and hugged me for photos more than 10 times today. None of them were reserved in touching me with strength or push their hands on me (and I am latin, imagine a typical anglo person, they will feel a little bit overwhelmed I guess)…they are happy and genuine open, interested. Maybe because they are aware that prejudice and preconceptions makes humanity blind. I want to thing that ideas about what should be close us to enjoy the present and be happy. So I guess I was projecting this. But I felt that, I felt they were happy, truly happy to meet me in their path, with not ideas, just surprised. I do not have a clue what they are going to do with the pictures of us…
Then I took two new massages. Why not? Before a busy biking day and in preparation for a new night train. I wanted to exercise my market research qualitative side. So I went to the other 2 places that where in my block. In the first one I took a forgeable massage. I was long 20 minutes and in the minute 10 I wanted to quit it. This lady was strong but I felt my back was her ball to prepare a dish or pasta or pizza…Meanwhile the second option was AMAZING. The best treatment ever. I was almost 2 hours. Foot massage and neck, shoulders and back. It was really good. Now I have a high benchmark for the rest of the cities. It started immersing my feet in a hot water full of tea bags. Then she did the back, neck and should plus stretching, plus digitopunture, and I do not what else. Then the foot massage, very deep. It never is the same technique. Each therapist is doing something different so is very difficult to describe what it is a Chinese foot massage. What all of them have in common is they are tiny but they have a lot a lot of strength. This one end with small hammers hiting my cafs.. have you seen the movie the 4th
Concubine? It was that the title…? I am not sure…the one that arrives 4th
and has to deal with the other wives and as a prize when the husband is happy he send her the women for the massage with the hammers…well, very similar, no husband, not other women, no fancy clothing, but the same technique LOL
Then the lights went off in town. It seems that is quite common here, they usually suffers cuts in electricity, they are ready with candles everywhere. So not only in Latin-American we had this lucky destiny/privilege. But it is weird here, when most of the Lamps are RED…hahah.
Well, just to make a point before I finish here, if my bad English is still coming back as an eco of confusion in your mind after reading me, just remember how much I love you, and how motivate I am to shame this with you. Try to fill out the blanks…I am making an effort in writing in your language to share my journey, so please put something from your side, no time to proofreading or double reading…LOL