Ancient adult ceremony practiced in Xi'an

2013-05-02 03:57:16 GMT2013-05-02 11:57:16(Beijing Time)  SINA.com
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On May 1st, around 40 teenagers in traditional Han Chinese clothing practices the century-old ancient adult ceremony in China’s ancient capital Xi’an.

The growing-up of a man is a process of metamorphosis. In the bygone days, the main purpose to hold an adult ceremony was to put the ceremony receiver under various tribulations, and finally took them into the society of adults. As the Book of Rites records, Male shall receive a capping ceremony at 20, and female a hairpin ceremony at 15. Both capping ceremony and hairpin ceremony were traditional adult ceremonies of ancient China. Both were hosted by the elderly of the same family clan for the youngsters according to the tradition. The adult ceremony dates back to the Zhou Dynasty, enjoying a history of over 2000 years. And many ethnic minorities have their own unique adult ceremony as well.

The ceremony for men was called the capping ceremony, which means doing hair in a bun or coil and wearing a cap. In ancient times, the capping ceremony was held in February in an ancestral temple and the date was chosen by the person to be capped by divination. Three days before the ceremony, he would select an honored guest to perform the rite as well as a capping assistant to help out. During the ceremony, the host (in most cases, the father of the person to be capped), honored guest and the person to be capped were supposed to wear ceremonial attires. The man was first capped with an inner cap, followed by a cap and a scarf. After the three steps, the mans hair was combed into a bun, which suggested the beginning of adulthood.

Traditionally, after the completion of capping, the honored guest would deliver a congratulatory speech to the capped person. The speech was something like this: On this auspicious day, you are granted an adults attire. Its time for you to stop behaving like a child and to act as an adult. Be sure to maintain dignity and achieve moral excellence. Wish you a long life, a successful career and good fortune. After that, the capped person would perform a formal bow to his mother. Then the honored guest would give him another name, which was the style name of the ancients.

The ceremony for women was called the hair-pinning ceremony, meaning gathering hair into a knot and using a hairpin to hold it. The hair-pinning ceremony for women of ancient times was held after a womans engagement and before her wedding. It was held when the woman turned 20 at the latest. The procedures were almost the same as those of a capping ceremony, with slight differences. For example, the participants were mostly women, the woman coming of age would be granted an elaborate cornet, and the venue of the ceremony was usually inside a main room or an inner chamber.

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