drinking games


drinking games
In Chinese culture, ‘solitary drinking’ (he menjiu) is usually associated with depression, whereas wining and dining in a convivial social atmosphere, often denoted by the term renao, literally ‘hot and noisy’, is much preferred. Drinking games (jiuling) have long been part of this atmosphere. Literary games, including the spontaneous composition of poems, require excellent Classical Chinese and have consequently disappeared. Less refined games, however, like finger games, number games and other betting games, are still popular among students and the lower strata of society. A common game is ‘finger-guessing’ (caiquan), involving two drinkers shouting and shaking their hands. Each simultaneously stretches out a certain number of their fingers on one or both hands, representing the numbers one to ten. The one who shouts out a number that equals the number of fingers displayed by the other wins. The loser has to drink. Another game is to pour one glass after another of hard liquor or wine and then insist that the guests empty their glass in a single gulp (ganbei). This gives the host face; otherwise he will be looked down on. The host, in fact, may be secretly sipping tea when asked to drink. This may also be a ploy to get the guests ‘to speak the truth over a drink’ (jiu hou tu zhenyan). The host, or someone else present, will often provide encouraging words—quanjiuci or ‘words that urge one to drink’—so that the guest will be carried away and unable to decline. The quanjiuci may be a shunkouliu (doggerel) like the following:
Ganqingshen, yikoumen.
Ganqinghao, hedezhao.
Ganqinghou, hebugou.
With deep feelings, you’ll swallow it in one mouthful.
With good feelings, you’ll have the drink.
With intense feelings, you’ve never drunk enough.
HELEN XIAOYAN WU

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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