Thanksgiving has a different meaning for immigrants from Fujian Province in China. For them, it is not about turkey, stuffing or football. Instead, it is a rare day off for them and they use it to arrange or attend wedding receptions.
Fujian immigrants arrive I thousands in each Thanksgiving in New York from all over the United States, to lionize at dozens of wedding receptions arranged in banquet halls as well as dim sum parlors across the city’s Chinese-American communities in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
It is a day selected out of convenience. A lot of Fujianese immigrants work in takeout restaurants and buffets, and so the holiday is the one when many could close their doors and share their time together.
Weddings in this community could also happen on Sundays, Mondays or Tuesdays. Zheng Junguo said that during the peak season, there could be as many as hundred wedding receptions in a week in Fujianese communities. Some receptions even see more than five-hundred guests.
Unlike other Western-style ceremonies, the actual wedding is not a part of these events in general. The legal proceedings often happen at a church or city hall somewhere, weeks or months before reception. 88 Palace saw three weddings simultaneously. In one room, a magician performed tricks, while a singer belted out pop ballads in Mandarin in the second and the last room saw a celebration with ‘canons.’