Archive for September, 2011


So I hear fortune tellers are very compelling

September 18, 2011

My cousin got married last Saturday.  She has no siblings (hello one child limit in China), and I don’t think she has any direct cousins other than me and my brother, so she’s really close to us and our parents (as are her parents, our aunt and uncle), especially since our grandparents passed away a few years ago.  Her dad’s brother has cancer and will most likely pass away within the next few years as well, so she honestly doesn’t have very much family left.  Every time we go back to China, to them, it’s as if the sun has come out from behind the pollution (a rare occurrence in China).  It’s great to have such caring family members (that wasn’t sarcasm, by the way).

Anyways, since she was planning to get married this summer, my dad immediately started dropping hints to my mom that we should totally go back to China during the summer to attend the wedding.  My mom, of course, picked up on these very well hidden hints (that was sarcasm) and planned a trip to China lasting almost three weeks during the month of August.  I also picked up on these hints and knew that we would be going to China mainly because of two reasons: the wedding and my great-grandma’s 100th birthday (which would actually happen in February, but more on that later).

I think I’ve already covered what happened during that trip pretty thoroughly, so I won’t go into that too much.  Just know that while we were there, my cousin and her husband (he was legally her husband, they got the papers done but hadn’t had the wedding yet) were buying all the wedding candy and buying goody bags and stuff.

By the time we went back home, we had not attended the wedding.  I didn’t say anything about it, but I was kind of confused about it.  We had celebrated great-grandma’s coming birthday, but we didn’t attend a wedding.


Because a fortune teller told them that in the three weeks we were going to China, there was not a single day that was a “good” day that was full of luck.

Yes.  A fortune teller.

Before you dismiss this as a cultural difference, know that the Xiao family just generally does not believe in fortune-telling bullshit and the like – my grandfather, who raised my dad and his sister (my cousin’s mother), was a high school principal who was jailed as a result of the Hundred Flowers Campaign when Mao Zedong was in power (but later released).  He was a very intellectual man who did not believe in magic bullshit.

On the other hand, the family that my cousin married into, apparently really did believe in it.  So they consulted a fortune teller, who “calculated” the best days to get their papers done (March 8, or freaking International Women’s Day) and the best day to have their wedding (AKA China’s Teacher’s Day).  You know what that’s like? That’s like marrying on Christmas Day and expecting that day to be special (according to my parents).

Some fortune teller.  So now my parents are (or were) extremely pissed that my cousin would take the word of some fortune teller over having us, pretty much her closest family, attend the wedding.  Also the fact that she invited 70 people to the wedding, but didn’t invite us.

What’s that? “No one could possible have so many people attend a wedding?” Oh, whoops! Silly me.  What a typo.   Sorry, it wasn’t 70.  It was 700.  Another typo, you say? Here, let me write that out again.  7*10^2.  Seven zero zero.  Jame’s Bond’s number backwards.  She invited 700 people to her wedding.

While I’m definitely not as pissed as my parents, I’m a little disappointed, but I can kind of see why she would do that.  Since she has so little family left, why would she want to alienate her parents-in-law, right?

But whatever.  It was a pretty fun trip overall.

…I bet the fortune teller would have told my parents to kill my brother, since he was born on September 18.  The day that the Japanese invaded China during WW2.  The day that sirens across China sound for three minutes straight, annually.