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洗尘 refers to the traditional Chinese custom of holding a banquet to welcome visitors from afar. However, the literal translation is "to wash dust", which has nothing to do with eating, and I'm also not sure about the connection to travelling.

Where did this phrase come from? Is it referring to accumulation of dust on travellers' clothes, and washing dust is simply part of the welcoming ritual? Or is it something else entirely?

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    I am just guessing, but if people arrived from a far away place, they had a long journey behind them, travelling by foot, ox cart or horses and probably arrived with their feet and faces covered with the dirt of the road, so they naturally had to wash off the dirt before joining the meal. This act could have given the name for the banquet following. – imrek Jul 16 '15 at 9:02
  • 空气污染。。。北京那边不是经常沙尘暴 – Mo. Jul 16 '15 at 13:15
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    English has a similar idiom "cut the dust". – Ampersand Jul 16 '15 at 14:26
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"洗尘"usually used with"接风",like "接风洗尘"。

it's come from 明(Ming Dynasty)·凌蒙初(a scholar and offical)《二刻拍案惊奇》第26卷:“虽也送他两把俸金,几件人事,恰好侄儿也替他接风洗尘,只好直退。”(classical Chinese)。

When someone go far,we say "一路顺风"(I wish you a happy voyage),so when visitors come from afar we sad"接风",and after long travel with wind(顺风),there must be dust on visitors。 so we say "接风洗尘"。

送人走时通常说一路顺风,接人时正好就接着这一股风把人接到,所以叫接风!刮风必然会粘上满身的尘土,所以,接风的同时把客人身上的尘土洗掉。

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"尘" literally means dust, it can also be comprehended as "exhaustion"“bad luck” the traveler brings with him or her. “洗尘“, get rid of exhaustion, bad luck and all the negative feelings and stuff.

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《通俗编·仪书》:“凡公私值远人初至,或设饮,或馈物,谓之洗尘。”

It means to 'welcome' someone who take a long way here. Since there is a long way on the road, there might be dust on the clothes and you must be tired. So it's not about eating. Eating is just a way to express welcome.

You can say '我摆了一桌宴席,来为你洗尘' as well as '我举办了个舞会,来为你洗尘'.

洗尘 usually used with 接风 as 接风洗尘. They have the same meaning.

Then why 接风? Someone come towards you, the wind reaches you first, right?

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