The week of weddings
Updated: 2012-10-08 10:19
By Tang Yue (China Daily)
To avoid hordes of travelers, I had originally planned to stay at home during the National Day holidays. However, an invitation to the wedding of my old college roommate finally saw me on a plane to his hometown of Chengdu in Sichuan province on Oct 1.
When I apologized to my parents for not being able to spend the holiday with them, I was relieved to find that they would be busy attending a number of weddings too, so my absence would not be missed.
My appointment in Chengdu meant I also had to turn down two other wedding invitations, this time from classmates in primary school. This was the third straight year I'd spent the National Day holidays attending a wedding; in 2010, it was a friend from high school and last year my cousin got hitched.
Apparently, "Golden Week" is not just a peak season for tourism, but also for those planning to tie the knot, taking advantage of the week-long break to gather families, friends and classmates together.
While it's always a great honor to receive invitations to friends' weddings, to know you are remembered and treasured, it can also become a heavy burden as it's not only time consuming, but can also be costly.
In China, when you attend a wedding, you always take a hongbao, a small, red envelope containing money for the happy couple. My fellow seven alumni traveling to Chengdu agreed to donate 1,000 yuan ($158) each. That's probably just about the average amount, but far less than close relatives who often give as much as 10,000 yuan. In some wealthy families the sum can be much higher.
Moreover, travel to the wedding was expensive: A return air ticket set me back a further 2,000 yuan. But I'm still luckier than another former college roomie, who works in Beijing and also attended our friend's wedding. Once the festivities in Chengdu were over, he flew back to his hometown in southeastern Fujian province to attend two more weddings. He joked that what he earned in September would barely pay for one week of trips.
I'm 26 and therefore I expect a lot of friends and alumni to marry in the coming years. I think I should start planning for next year's National Holiday, so I can escape from the tourists and the weddings!