Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Forfeits (chai quan)

The Chinese have a noisy game of forfeit often played at the dinner table at feast times. It consists in the player flinging out one of more fingers of the hand, and shouting out a number, when the other, who is playing with him, must instantly fling out as many of his fingers as will, if added to the number mentioned by his opponent, make up the total to ten, and while doing this he also shouts out the number of his fingers that he throws out. If a mistake is made, the one who makes it has to drink a cup of spirits as a forfeit. As they proceed, the party of six, eight, or ten, get more and more excited and boisterous, and shout at the top of their voices. This game is also called by Chinese "chai quan".

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