A short breakdown of Chinese social gatherings that totally generalizes in some places, but that’s okay, right?

First published

People arrive. Introductions are performed between those who have not previously met, promoting the relationship between them from total strangers to let’s talk about life, the universe, and everything for a few hours. The youngest children, of which there are generally only a handful (if any), break off into their own group and proceed to run around for the rest of the evening. The older children head off to the nearest computer or video game console, where most of the night’s noise will be made. The adults conglomerate around the dining room table and pull out a deck of cards, playing games to serve as breaks during the seemingly-endless conversation.

Said groups only break up for dinner, which consists of food brought by the various attendees and/or cooked by the host family, and only for long enough to grab food and head back to their previous stations.

Between 10:00 and midnight, a sixth sense suddenly snaps in all of the parents, reminding them that it’s time to go home regardless of how much fun they and their kids were having beforehand. Children are persuaded to stop playing their games, although sufficient resistance can delay until some distraction for the adults pushes them back to the previous stage. Good-byes are said, which take seemingly forever and leave the kids wondering why they were pried from their friends so early. A communal decision is made to hold another party sometime soon. Lather, rinse, repeat.