A Meaningful Connection?汉服与传统文化的关系
Given the rapid pace at which China is changing, it is not surprising that people want to hang on to pieces of the past. A glimpse back in time is like peering into another world. Many of the traditions, ceremonies, and values have been lost over time. In an attempt to reconnect with that which has been lost, some people have pulled forward symbols of the past—traditional clothing, or Hanfu.
Hanfu refers to the clothing worn by the Han people for thousands of years before the establishment of the Qing Dynasty in 1644. Some Chinese people are trying to revive the traditional clothing. The garments include long robes with wide sleeves, skirts, and hats. Without a doubt, the garments are beautiful, but hardly convenient for a modern lifestyle.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll see folks walking through the streets wearing Hanfu on their way to work or school, it’s not uncommon to see the traditional clothing during special occasions. A bride and groom will often pose for pictures in traditional attire on their wedding day; students may wear Hanfu during their graduation ceremony; historical clothing is often displayed in shows during traditional festivals.
Some think that wearing Hanfu on special occasions is a great way to stay in touch with traditions of the past. Others feel that it is a superficial display of Chinese culture and the people involved lack true understanding of its importance. This is proven when mistakes are made in the way people wear the clothing. For example, last year, a group of elementary school students wore ancient costumes including a hat (which they made from a disposable cup and chopsticks). However, historically, only men bound their hair and wore a cap during the maturation ceremony at age 20.
Understanding one’s cultural heritage isn’t as simple as recognizing traditional outfits, but includes understanding its significance. To truly appreciate that, one must take the time to understand the literature, ceremonies, customs, and values of the past.