Guests come and they feel as if they were at home
Want to praise the hotel that made you feel very comfortable? Here's the perfect idiom.
Today we'll introduce you to a very common phrase in China bin zhi ru gui, which literally means guests feel as if they were at home. It is often used to describe a hospitable host's promise.
The story behind the idiom dates back to the Spring and Autumn period, more than two thousand years ago. At that time, China was divided into many small kingdoms. One of them was the Kingdom of Zheng. This kingdom once sent a high official, Zi Chan, to visit the Jin Kingdom, which was the leader of their alliance. When Zi Chan and his men arrived, the Jin king made an excuse and didn't meet Zi Chan, who had brought many valuable presents for him. Arriving at their hotel, Zi Chan found that the gate was not wide enough for his carriages to get through. In order to find a safe place to store his gifts, he ordered his men to pull down the wall so as to make a way for the carriages.
This greatly surprised the king of Jin. He sent his official Shi Wenbo to express his concern to Zi Chan with this message: “As the leader of the alliance, many officials from the other kingdoms visit us. For the sake for our visitors' safety, we built this hotel with high, thick walls. Now you have torn the wall down, how can we ensure our visitors' safety? My lord requires an explanation.”
Zi Chan replied: “I hear that when your previous king was in power, he lived in a small palace, but built a spacious grand hotel to receive guests. When visitors arrived, they were well cared for and the gift presentation ceremony was quickly arranged. Staying in such a hotel, guests felt as if they were in their own home. But now, things are quite different. The king's present palace is huge, but our hotel is so shabby, even our carriages couldn't get in. And when we arrived, no one met us, and we still don't know when we can meet your king. If we hadn't pulled down the wall to get in, we would have had to leave all our presents in the open. If you can arrange our meeting with the king as soon as possible, we will rebuild the wall.”
When Zi Chan's words were passed on to the king of Jin, he felt quite ashamed of himself. He immediately arranged a grand feast and gave Zi Chan a warm reception. He also ordered the hotel to be rebuilt into something worthy of distinguished guests.
From this story comes the idiom bin zhi ru gui. It is now used to describe warm hospitality and comfortable accommodation. One can often see it written in large Chinese characters hanging at the gate or in the lobby of a hotel.