Red, Red Wine
Post by Eva

It’s funny really, but due to some cultural characteristics white (grape) wine is somewhat under-appreciated in China. As a fan, I was quite affected, and I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery, only to be faced with the following (shocking, mind-blowing, kind-a-obvious) discovery:

Firstly, the existence of Baijiu should be mentioned, (we talked about this before, folks, but for those of you that don’t remember: this monstrosity of a Chinese liquor goes by an innocent name of ‘white wine’); obviously, since the name was already taken no one in marketing really bothered to do anything about it.

Chinese White Wine Baijiu

Secondly, and perhaps more notably; as surely most of you have already noticed (if not, prepare to be baffled during the Spring Festival), there is this persisting obsession with color red in China. For Chinese, color red carries various symbolic meanings such as joy and virtue; and since one can never get enough of that, red is everywhere! – no (political) pun intended.

Red dresses and red ties for festive occasions (not surprisingly, spring festival is the season to go completely red-crazy), the red envelope, or HongBao (given to newlyweds on their wedding day, and to children during the spring festival), the obligatory piece of red-clothing to be worn during the spring festival, the wedding dress (one of), festive posters, promotion material, cigarette packets, firecrackers, red baijiu bottles,  rhyming couplets hanging on the door during the spring festival; and last, but not least, the popularity and widespread recognition of red wine.

There is though, one occasion in particular when usage of red color should be avoided: when writing letters. As my (teary-eyed) Chinese friend  pointed out at the time, red ink is used exclusively for breaking off a friendship (geez, that must’ve happened a lot during some point).

And an interesting side note: you know how in westerns the bad guys always wear black hats, and the good guys wear white hats, well, in Chinese theater black color symbolizes the simple but honest folk; white is for the bad guys, and red, of course, for the deities and gods and whatnots. So yes, another score for color red!

Alas, I recognize that this battle cannot be won, so I guess I will opt for a beer belly instead.

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