Tuesday, November 13, 2012

繍球/Marriage Ball



11/11 was the anniversary of the founding of Cheng Kung University.  The university has a schoolwide track meet and other celebrations on this day every year.  I took a couple pictures of the balloon display below.

Interestingly, 11/11 is also "Singles' Day" in Taiwan.  Know what they don't celebrate on 11/11?  The end of "World War" 1.  It's a big deal holiday in Europe, but that's because WWI is an extremely Euro-centric misnomer.  WWI was Europe's war, thank you very much.  Some colonies got dragged into it, and Japan made a land grab when they saw that Germany's Pacific possessions were vulnerable, but it was hardly a real world war.  Maybe that sounds really unnecessarily bitter, especially since I bear no animus towards the millions of young men who went through the meat grinder that was WWI, but the name does really kind of bother me.  It should be "Europe's War".  And WWII could be "The Northern Hemisphere and South Pacific War", though now that I've gone and typed that out, I can kind of see what that won't be catching on any time soon.

 These two photos are from the game the Chinese Literature Department put on.  In ancient China (and possibly even now, though I wasn't clear on that point) at weddings a single woman would throw a ball into a crowd and she was supposed to marry whoever caught it.  I think.  Something like that.  The ball is named after the Hydrangea, which it resembles.  I think.
The Chinese Lit Department made a game of this.  They paraded out young women from the department onto this balcony with their faces covered.  They then introduced them and their special talents.  (One of them played a flute while she had her face still shrouded!)  At the end they would reveal the young woman's face and she would throw the red ball to the waiting crowd.  Whoever caught it got to go backstage and get some sort of prize from her.  I wasn't clear on that part either.  I find I often don't know 100% what's going on in Taiwan...
As a side note, the hostess (in the pink dress with the microphone) was hilarious.  I say this even though I barely understood anything she said.  There's something about someone with good stage presence; you don't even have to know what they're saying to know that they're funny; you can just feel their energy.


  1. So, did you catch the ball, and did you marry anyone? : )