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Custom of Chinese Wine Drinking

Chinese wine drinking has been played a quite important role in Chinese people's life from ordinary people to kings for a long time. Our Chinese ancestors either toast wine to forefathers to express reverence as a libation, or to enjoy by themselves while writing poetry or prose, or to toast their relatives and friends during a feast.

When to Drink
Chinese people will drink the Realgar Wine on the fifth of the , while Chrysanthemum Wine on September 9th. On the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, during the Lantern Festival, watching the lantern show or admiring the full moon to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, they would liven up drinking. Wine was intimately connected with most Chinese men of letters. During good times, the Chinese like to "sing and drink because life is brief" whereas during bad times they wonder "why relieve sorrows since wine just matters".

Custom of Chinese Wine Drinking

The banquets of ancient emperors and kings could not take place without it. Every sort of spirits vessel thus became an important kind of sacrificial object subscriber.

Some Typical Banquets to Drink Spirits

But Chinese wine is not only for literary and refined scholars, it was also an inseparable part of the life of ordinary Chinese people through numerous events such as birthday, farewell dinner, wedding, etc. Here are some typical banquets which have a close connection to wine.

Birthday Wine: In China, a banquet known as "Jiu Xi" means an alcohol banquet and the life of every person, especially from birth to death, should have pauses for drinking banquets starting a month or 100 days after a baby's birth when the parents invite people in for a drink.

Custom of Chinese Wine Drinking

Longevity Wine: China is a typical country that emphasizes the virtue of respecting older people.

When an old person's birthday comes, younger generation usually take different kinds of gifts to celebrate them. Taking wine and eat a meal with them is very popular and welcomed by older generation. It is so-called “longevity wine”. Here wine acts as a medium to transfer love and wishes. On one hand, after drinking the wine, the older people will live longer and healthier. On the other hand, it can give each other time to meet because nowadays younger generation is too busy to give more care to their elder generation.

Opening Wine and Dividend Wine

When someone builds a new house, starts a business; he should invite people in for a drinking session. He could call his relatives and friends together, and then his business will be good later.

Not only starting a business needs wine, at the end of the year, when the boss is ready to give the workers dividend to thank them for working hard or encourage them, a wine acts, too.

Custom of Chinese Wine Drinking

In ancient China, during a feast, playing finger-guessing games with excited shouts—much like battle cries—was called a wine battle. The opposing guests, competing like two armies facing each other on the battlefield, played finger-guessing and other drinking games, such as thinking up new songs at the table, composing impromptu poems, singing in unison, dancing, and so on. All of these became amusements that added excitement to banquets.

In modern times it is a pity that the games that go with drinking are not the elegant ones of those of past involved poetry or music. Today, drinkers just play simple finger-guessing games along with a lot of heavy drinking. It also seems today that friendship depends only on the volume of drink being consumed. "If we are good friends, then bottoms up; if not, then just take a sip" is a common phrased exchanged during gatherings.