Monday, June 04, 2007

"We will all verily abide" China

The city of Linfen, Shanxi was recently pegged as the most polluted city in the world. It is also a small city rich in legend. Of course legend abounds in China wherever you go but Linfen, as the capital of the legendary first emperor of China--the Yao emperor-- is in a sense the birthplace of Chinese civilization and the birthplace of Chinese legend. I taught English in Linfen at the Shanxi Teachers University from 1993 to 1995 and so Linfen is also rich with a personal set of legends and folklore that I weave together in the the narration of my own life... One of the figures in the magical memories of those days is Chen Gang who got married this May 4th on a sunny and rare clear day in Linfen.

The wedding was held inside this magnificent structure--a memorial to the Yao emperor... Strikingly absent during the day's festivities were the customary rowdy poking of fun at the bride and groom and the excessive alchohol consumption rituals...

In their place a quiet devotional program of readings by friends from around the world who had come to participate in the wedding was presented to the over 200 guests in attendance. I was honored to be asked to read the opening prayer in Chinese.

"He is the Bestower, the Bounteous! Praise be to God, the Ancient, the Ever-Abiding, the Changeless, the Eternal! He Who hath testified in His Own Being that verily He is the One, the Single, the Untrammelled, the Exalted...And when He desired to manifest grace and beneficence to men, and to set the world in order, He revealed observances and created laws; among them He established the law of marriage, made it as a fortress for well-being and salvation, and enjoined it upon us in that which was sent down out of the heaven of sanctity in His Most Holy Book..."

I was also honored to be chosen as one of the witnesses to the simple wedding vows!! "We will all verily abide by the will of God."

One of the many pure sweet joys of the occasion was to see once again some of the dear dear friends from those two magical years in Linfen so long long ago.

Chen Gang has become quite a public figure in Linfen as a result of his chain of English schools and his primary school and most recently the college that he opened that uses curriculum from FUNDAEC. One measure of power and prestige at a wedding is the number of fancy black cars that can be mustered together to transport guests from the place of the ceremony to the banquet location. Chen Gang's friends and supporters were able to find quite a cavalcade.


Blogger iguana said...

Fabulous post on a fabulous blog! Yes, I heard about the wedding but just saw pictures of it for the first time on this blog, thanks so much. Looks like a very beautiful and ornate ceremony, I wish I could have been there. Lucky you!

12:03 AM, September 23, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home