Aard regular John Massey reminds us that the East is Red.
The colour that Chinese language does not have a name for is pink. Chinese clearly perceive pink the same as Europeans do, and have no difficulty in naming it correctly as pink in English, but in Chinese language it is usually referred to as ‘light red’ or ‘pale red’, which is really not an accurate descriptor of pink.
But red is regarded as a propitious colour in Chinese culture, and that extends to pink as well – so pink is regarded as a kind of continuum with red in terms of it being ‘lucky’.
I had absolutely no problem with my bride being clad in a bright red silk qipao, form fitting and split up the sides to her thighs (she wore a traditional European style white wedding dress for the ‘foreign devil style’ church service in the early morning, then changed into the red qipao for the ‘real wedding’, which went on almost endlessly for the rest of the day and half of the night).
But I was utterly appalled on my wedding night, when we finally got to retire to bed in the early hours of the morning, to find that my mother-in-law had been in and the bed cover and pillow slips were all bright pink silk, elaborately embroidered with dragons and phoenixes. Phoenices. Whatever. Hey, Mum, real men don’t sleep on pink silk pillows! Worse, she had added additional embroidery to them herself, which she was very good at, and had sewn coins into them, in order to invoke a prosperous and productive union. So we fell into an exhausted (and in my case heavily inebriated, because of all of the traditional toasting I had to do all bloody day long with black label whisky) sleep under the weight of a bed cover weighed down with bits of the local currency.
My wedding day was an absolute trial, requiring a great deal of stamina. The bright side was that I played a lot of ma jong at my own wedding, and won quite a bit of money. Also, one of my wife’s uncles was a traffic cop – he drove us, and when we got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the large restaurant where the ‘real’ wedding was to be held, he calmly got out of the car, stood in the middle of the intersection and directed the traffic until the jam was cleared, then got back into the car again – totally unflappable. Plus, members of the large extended family who attended the wedding in their hundreds had given us a lot of money as wedding gifts, and this police uncle had the foresight to carry his service revolver on him, suitably concealed, so he accompanied me as my armed guard when I went to the bank to deposit all of the cash.