Lecture „Naodongfang (鬧洞房): A Study about Contemporary Chinese Wedding Games with Sexual Connotation“

Xuan Wang photo 1aXuan Madeline Wang

Ph. D. Candidate, Department of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Visiting Ph.D., University of Tartu, Estonia

Naodongfang (鬧洞房): A Study about Contemporary Chinese Wedding Games with Sexual Connotation

If you paid attention to Oscar Academy Award winner director Ang Lee’s movie The Wedding Banquet (《喜宴》1993), you may have noticed a plot that the American Chinese were practising a series of lively and funny wedding games. This custom is called Naodongfang (鬧洞房)  which indicates wedding games and pranks with sexual instructions that are held by tricksters before, during or after the wedding ceremony. The first officially written reference to it appears in TheHistory of Han Dynasty: Geographic Records (《漢書∙地理志》) around 32-92 BCE.

Over its two thousand years’ history, Naodongfang has relatively established the foundation for the core elements of dirty jokes and sex pranks. This lecture, based on my ongoing PhD thesis, mainly features three topics: 1. the significance of humor, play and jokes in human daily life (broad comparisons with western equivalents such as Shiveree, bachelor parties, mock weddings, groom’s dances, etc.), 2. the significance of folklore subverting authority (unsuccessful efforts, which past governments had made to ban and stigmatize the practice, prove that Naodongfang has essential functions for societies and people), 3. a double-sided sword in gender dynamics (are women victims of the traditions and folklore when sexual assaults happen during Naodongfang?). In conclusion, by answering these questions, I will try to explain why people practise absurd wedding games across the worldwide.

Lecture will be held on 28 of May 2018 at 17:00 at the Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University,
A. Binderio aud. (Universiteto Str. 5, Vilnius)


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