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                Essential Etiquette for Bumper Banquets

                Source:China Daily Published:2020-01-30 17:32

                If you ruin a Lunar New Year's banquet, your Spring Festival may be a disaster.

                Although some people choose to travel overseas to celebrate the holiday, most Chinese who work in big cities return to their hometowns to be with their families.

                Banquets with relatives and friends are indispensable parts of the holiday, but if people do not make a good impression on others during different feasts, their holiday will be a failure.

                Usually, the host or youngest adult must take the initiative to ask the oldest guest or most-senior diner to take the "upper seat". It directly faces the door or entrance, so his or her position and authority in the family is easily identifiable.

                If the older person politely refuses the offer and asks another guest to take the seat, the host or youngest person must gently insist that they occupy the coveted chair.

                The host or youngest adult usually sits opposite the upper seat, close to the door. He or she must order the dishes, arrange the seating pattern and start proceedings by asking the guests to enjoy the food and drinks.

                While eating, the freshest dishes should be placed in front of the upper seat, so the distinguished person can take the first bite.

                Often, drinking is more important than eating at such banquets. In addition to red wine and soft drinks, baijiu-strong, spicy rice liquor-is a common beverage.

                Younger people usually have to stand up, hold their glass in both hands and toast their elders, wishing them a healthy, happy and long life.

                They must also say something flattering about the other guests to acknowledge their positions, but they must avoid being sycophantic. The order of toasting goes clockwise; if you cannot drink a lot of wine, you may replace it with another beverage-but only at the very beginning of the toast.

                "In my hometown, both males and females usually need to drink during Spring Festival. When you toast others, you need to keep smiling and make sure you turn a shot of baijiu bottom up with every guest at the table," said Li Yuxiang, a Shandong province native.

                She added that a young man who cannot drink enough will be teased by the elders.

                There are also many traps at a banquet. For example, if a young man is impolite or garrulous, the other guests will not point it out, but will take turns to toast him until he cannot drink anymore.

                Since Li started working two years ago, the 26-year-old, who is employed by a bank in Beijing, has had to attend banquets with relatives and friends almost every day during the weeklong holidays.

                As a result, she is familiar with all the tricks involved.

                She said that as long as she toasts the person in the upper seat first and gives an impression of having a weak head for alcohol, then the senior person will advise the other guests not to toast her.

                "So, after all, females have some advantages at the banquets," she said.

                Editor:Zhao Hanqing

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