The Auspicious Round Table

Since I was a little kid, i wonder tirelessly why we cant have the Long Dining Table like those seen in western movies; heavy, steady, made of good wood and seats at least six. Ours is always round. Everytime i asked Mother she would always give a quick and short answer 'It's round because we are Chinese!'.  Somewhat annoyed with such incomplete answer, I shouldered this question mark which grew and bred in my mind each passing year, nourished by my non-chinese educational background. I always think that long table is superior, since it can be set beautifully with flowers, napkins, elaborate chandelier hanging low while it seats well-dressed people who pass big heavy salad bowl around in formal seating. There seemed to be an odd shimmering air of elegance clinging to the Long Dining Table.

But the magic of round table was unveiled little by little to me these years, with increasing clarity. Every Chinese New Year, people hastily return from all over the world to take their respective seats at the round table for a meal together with their family, as if their presence is mandatory. Surgeons put down their scalpels, judges their gavels, clerks their pens and soldiers their weapons. Round table seating forces elbow-to-elbow brush; a sign of closeness, connection and bond. At the round table, everyone can see everyone in unobstructed view and there is little difficulty in reaching out for food or conversation as the diameter is exactly the same from every seat to the centre of the round table. Distance is bridged as people close in and love reaches out.

My Reunion Dinner 2011
On a symbolic level, round table is a Circle. Circle signifies completion and union. There is no end in a circle, it is an endless cycle of life and continuation of love from one to another. That which is good is retained in that circle and never runs out. The existing gap and distance is being closed as one by one of the family members take their seats at the round table. That is why it is called Reunion Dinner. because no matter how far one goes in life, ones must return to his roots, his family, his seat grounded at the Round table.

Because we are nothing without family.

I now realised the purpose of Mother's very short answer all these while. It was meant to show me that Love cannot be taught in a sentence but can be learnt, understood and instilled with the passage of appropriate seasons.  Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

2 Response to "The Auspicious Round Table"

  1. Good one~! I like this...

    Ronald says:

    Good insight! I love this!

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