speak chinese like a native

祝酒 zhu4 jiu3 (toasts)

Posted by bodawei August 4, 2011 in the Group General Discussion .


I really need to learn something about toasts and toasting - it is something that to date I have not turned my mind to. 

My wife and I attended a family dinner with 21 guests including ourselves – there were thirteen family members, three non-family Chinese friends and five non-Chinese guests. The meal was celebrating the marriage of my friend to a foreigner (they actually legally married a few months ago).

Toasting started shortly after the food arrived with a general toast by my friend’s uncle and host – he welcomed everyone, and welcomed the visitors (foreigners) to the home town.

Then the host started the individual toasting, followed by my friend and his wife moving around the table. There are toasters and toastees. Toasters and toastees are either one or two people (or three in one case where the third person was a thirteen year old child.) Only the grandparents did not play the role of toasters.

All of the toasters went around the table in a similar fashion, toasting the toastees in the order indicated in I. The order of toasters is indicated in II.

I. Order of toastees (people receiving the toast from toasters):

Grandfather and grandmother

Uncle (oldest brother & host)

Father of my friend

Friend & friend’s wife

Parents of my friend’s wife

Mother of my friend

Auntie (oldest brother’s wife)

Uncle’s two non-family friends

Auntie (father’s younger sister), husband and 13 year old daughter

Cousins (host’s son and daughter)

Little brother of my friend and little brother’s male friend

(We did not toast the friend’s wife’s parents but everyone else did. Neither did they toast us.)

II. Order of toasters carrying out toasts:

Uncle (oldest brother & host)

Friend & friend’s wife (guests of honour?)

My Friend’s father & mother

Friend’s wife’s parents (foreigners)

Uncle’s two friends

Auntie (oldest brother’s wife)

Auntie (father’s younger sister), husband and 13 year old daughter

Cousins (host’s son and daughter)

Wife and myself (foreigners)

Little brother

Little brother’s male friend (not a family member)


What is said by each toaster is personalised (although I was totally un-prepared and said pretty much the same thing to everyone, thanking them for their hospitality.)

谢谢您对我你的热情款待 Xiexie ni dui wo ni de rèqíng kuǎndài (Thanks for the hospitality.)

I really need to learn more about what is the appropriate thing to say. This is where a few chengyu could be helpful, because you get plenty of practice saying them over and over again.


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