Friday, June 12, 2009

magic tiiiime

OK, so here I am on the verge of nuptial bliss, smoking a cigar and drinking good whisky (Stranahan's Colorado). I am about to go back east to Vermont to get married in a couple of weeks, in case my dear readers did not know, so I thought I would post a little bit of Chinese-related marriage stuff!

But first check out this pencil sketch I did recently of an alien chasing a dude on a hover bike!! (No relation to how I feel about getting married, mind you, it is just something I drew recently and would like criticism on. Click for larger image)

OK. The first thing I can say is that I am glad we are getting married in 21-st century USA instead of feudal China. Back in the day, you would not even know your bride/groom or what they looked like/enjoyed eating/preferred activities/favorite color. It was all arranged in advance by the families. Michala and I have been dating for several years, with the engagement and wedding planning lasting for about a year and a half on its own! And no matchmaker!

The Chinese word for marriage ceremony is 婚礼 (hun1 li3). The second part of the character means simply "ceremony" or "rite." But the first part is interesting because it has the radical for female: 女 (nv3) and for dusk: 昏 ( hun1). Apparently this is because marriages in olden times used to take place in the evening. (according to

There are a million details on how marriages went down in China, but I think one thing that is quite interesting is that pretty much all of the characters associated with marriage have the female radical 女 in them. Here is a brief list of those words:

婚 (hun1) marriage, get married (woman + dusk)
姻 (yin1) relatives by marriage (woman + reason)
嫁 (jia1) to marry to a man (woman + home)
娶 (qu3) to marry a woman (woman + retrieve)

I am very excited to get married! I keep getting asked "are you nervous?" But I don't feel nervous, rather I feel a sense of destiny, a feeling of impending fulfillment, and a sense of connection with the millions of other beings (humans, obviously, but also our animal cousins, whose psychological and emotional dimensions remain largely unplombed by us) who have entered into similar committments, in whatever form, with whatever combination of individuals.

Next post: I will be a married man!