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Chinese Traditional Wedding

China is a large country with 56 nationalities.Different nationalities have different marriage customs,but whatever the nationality is,the wedding ceremony is usually very complicated.The traditional Chinese marriage usually involves 6 necessary procedures,namely:match-making,engagement,betrothal presents,meeting the bride, three bows, and drinking wedlock wine. In addition, a typical Chinese wedding nowadays goes like this: when a new couple is engaged,what followed is a choiec of an auspicious date of the marriage. Quite a few, especially thoes in the countryside, would probably ask a foutune-teller for the lucky date, so their marriage would have 'Double Happiness".
The wedding ceremony is usually preside warmly, and often ends with a very extravagant banquet. Toasts are made to wish the new couple long life, eternal love and happiness, early birth of a healthy baby and so on.

Red is central to the wedding theme of China. It signifies love,joy and prosperity. The bride's wedding down and embroider shoes are often red, as are the wedding invitations, wedding gift boxes, even the bride and groom's homes are decorated in red on the wedding day.
A large Chinese character means:Double Happiness.中国是一个有56个民族的大国.不同民族有不同婚俗.但无论哪个民族,结婚仪式都较复杂.传统的中国婚礼仪式包括6个必要步骤:说媒、定亲、聘礼、迎娶、拜堂(三鞠躬)、交杯酒。一个标准中国婚礼会进行如下:在一对新人订婚后,是选吉日结婚成亲。有些人,特别是乡下,会请算命先生挑个结婚吉日(通常是双日子),意味着双喜临门。婚礼庆典、婚宴会很隆重。人们会举杯祝酒,祝福新人健康、恩爱、白头到老、早生贵子等。

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Ancient Traditional Chinese Clothing

History of Ancient Traditional Chinese Clothing

Han Chinese clothing, or Hanfu (TC: 漢服; SC: 汉服; pinyin: hànfú;; literally "Clothing of the Han people") refers to the pre-17th century traditional clothing of the Han Chinese, the predominant ethnic group of China.

Hanfu encompasses all types of traditional clothing worn by the Han Chinese ethnic group. As such, it has a history as long as the history of the Han Chinese people. Hanfu was eliminated by Manchu invaders by force in the 17th century, and is largely unknown in China today, except among a small but vocal group of people advocating the revival of Hanfu as a Chinese national costume.

Qipao and Tangzhuang, although usually regarded as traditional Chinese clothing, are not regarded as Hanfu by advocates of Hanfu revival. This is because these were introduced by the Manchus, whom revival advocates accuse of having stamped out Hanfu in the first place. Qipao and Tangzhuang are also relatively recent clothing styles, and cannot represent the entire history of Chinese clothing.

Many traditional costumes of Asian countries, such as the kimono in Japan, along with the traditional dresses Korean Hanbok and Vietnamese ao dai, are derived from Hanfu and have the same style as Hanfu. In contrast to China, Japanese and Korean traditional dress have been preserved over the centuries, and are close to what pre-Manchu Hanfu looked like.

According to Chinese tradition, Hanfu can be keith traced back to the Yellow Emperor, a great sage king of ancient China whom legend says ruled in the 27th century BC. Hanfu itself has a recorded history of more than 3000 years. It was worn by Han Chinese people from the semi-legendary Xia Dynasty (c. 21st century BC - 16th century BC) all the way to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The traditional dress of many Asian countries have been influenced by Hanfu, especially those of Japan and Korea.

Hanfu was regarded by Han Chinese as a very important part of their culture. The wearing of appropriate styles of Hanfu was an important part of courteous refined behaviour. Confucius considered Hanfu a very important part of Chinese ceremony and ritual and many of his quotations contain references to Hanfu.

The disappearance of Hanfu

Hanfu disappeared at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The Qing Dynasty was founded not by Han Chinese who form the overwhelming majority of the population of China proper, but by the Manchus, a semi-nomadic people which first rose to prominence in Manchuria. Taking advantage of the political instability and frequent popular rebellions convulsing China, the highly organized military forces of the Manchus swept into the Ming capital of Beijing in 1644 (which itself had earlier fallen to rebel forces under Li Zicheng), and formed the Qing Dynasty.

The Manchus foresaw that they would have great difficulty ruling the Han Chinese, who outnumbered them vastly and had a much more sophisticated culture.

Soon after the takeover of China proper, the Manchus forced the Han Chinese men to adopt Manchu hairstyle (the pigtail) and Manchu-style clothing. There was enormous resistance to these policies, especially against the pigtail, which required shaving the entire top front half of the head. (Chinese traditional dictated that removing hair was against filial piety because one received one's hair from one's parents.) Popular uprisings flaired up immediately, but those were put down brutally, especially in massacres occurring at Yangzhou and Jiading. Up to 30 to 50 million Han Chinese people may have perished in total as a result of the Manchu invasion and conquest. Enforcement of the policies was swift, brutal, and effective. Hanfu was replaced by Manchu-style clothing, and soon every Han Chinese male wore a pigtail. Hanfu was still permited for women, however without the traditional support of the palace, women started replacing their hanfu clothing with styles that were influenced by the imperial court and Hanfu was completly gone within a century of Qing rule.


After the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Manchu dress and the pigtail disappeared quickly in favour of western-style dress. Today most Han Chinese wear western-style clothing, and Han Chinese clothing is largely unknown. Recent attempts by Hanfu advocates in China to wear Hanfu outdoors have provoked curious reactions from onlookers, many of them mistaking Hanfu for Japanese dress.

However, there is a small but vocal movement in China to revive Han Chinese clothing as a Chinese national custom.


According to legend, the first ruler of the Chinese nation and the ancestor of the Chinese people is an immemorial sage king called the Yellow Emperor.

According to traditional reckoning, he unified the North China Plain in 2697 BC. Legends say that under his rule, China was a prosperous and powerful nation with stable politics and advanced culture. Many cultural and technological inventions are attributed to his reign, such as the Chinese written language, methods of agriculture, music, the Chinese calendar and so on. The Yellow Emperor's imperial consort, Leozu [Su], was said to be the first person to know how to raise silkworms and make silk from the silkworm cocoon, from which Hanfu was woven. Thus the Chinese Hanfu was invented. Because Leizu had provided China with beautiful silk and Hanfu, she is often revered as the female ancestor of the Chinese people, and respectfully addressed with the title of Xianchan since the Western Zhou Dynasty.

Pre-literate era
During ancient times, human beings wore clothing for practical purposes. During the Stone Age, they learned how to make and use increasingly complex tools.

They invented the bone awl and the bone needle and created primitive clothing with the aid of these tools.

Approximately 5000 years ago, China was in the Neolithic Period. People's lives were becoming more stable, allowing the development of primitive agriculture and the textiles industry. At first people wore clothes of woven linen. Later they discovered how to raise the silkworm and spin silk, and as a result their clothing became increasingly elaborate.

Shang Dynasty
According to archaeological discoveries, the basic shape and style of Hanfu were already and almost completely developed during the Shang Dynasty (c. 16th century BC - 11th century BC), the first attested dynasty of China. Clothing from this period was mainly composed of two parts, the Yi (coat) on the top and the Shang (skirt) underneath. The sleeve cuff was narrow. The Yi did not have any buttons and was fixed with a broad sash tied around the waist. A Bixi hung from the waist sash was used to shade the knees.

Archeological finds show that fabrics in this period were mainly in warm colors, especially yellow and red, along with brown. There were also cooler colors like blue, green etc. Because the red and yellow dyes were made from mercury sulfide and orpiment, they were brighter than the other colors and were of stronger penetrability; hence they were more able to last unchanged until today. Modern scientific analysis has shown that dyeing and weaving methods were often used at the same time during Shang and Zhou periods. Orthochromatic colors such as red and yellow were often used to draw on the fabrics after they were woven.

Western Zhou Dynasty
The Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 711 BC), established under a feudal system, consolidated the empire by a strict social class system and formulated a set of extremely exhaustive and thorough etiquette to standardize society and stabilize the country. The different styles of Hanfu worn symbolized each person's social class. As Hanfu was one of the cornerstones of the political foundation, stipulations were very strict.

Zhou Dynasty Hanfu followed the form and style of the Shang Dynasty, with a few changes. The style was slightly looser compared with the Shang Dynasty.

There were two kinds of sleeve styles: broad and narrow. The collar were crossed and tied to the right, known as "Jiaoling Youren". The Yi had no buttons but instead had a sash tied around the waist for closure. Sometimes people also hung ornamental decorations made of jade on the waist sash as well. The length of skirts and trousers varied from reaching the knees to reaching the ground.

Eastern Zhou Dynasty
Shenyi (deep robe), an important kind of Hanfu, was introduced during Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period. Shenyi is a kind of full-length, one-piece robe which links the Yi and Shang together to wrap up the body. It is cut separately but sewn together. Shenyi was named because when it was worn "the body was deeply wrapped up". Shenyi continued the Hanfu's characteristic of Jiaoling Youren and made a big impact on society. Everybody could wear it regardless of gender, profession or social class. During this time the weaving and dyeing techniques were already very advanced, as many complicated and magnificent patterns already appeared on Hanfu.

The Influences of Hanfu

Due to the length of its history and China's overwhelming cultural influence on the region, Hanfu has significantly shaped the styles of traditional costumes of many other Asian countries. Some countries such as Vietnam, which was frequently either a vassal state or under the direct control of China before 1884 (when the French invaded Vietnam), have traditional dresses that are exactly the same as Hanfu. Other Asian countries' traditional costumes, such as Korea Hanbok and Japanese Kimono, do have some differences from Hanfu. Compared with Japanese Kimono, Korean traditional dress is much more similar to Hanfu. of all the traditional costumes of Asian countries influenced by the Hanfu, the Japanese Kimono differs the most from the original. However, all the traditional dresses mentioned above inherited the unique Hanfu Style: Youren and wide sleeve. Some people in China today also mistake Hanfu for Korean Hanbok and Japanese Kimono.

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Colorful Cap

Colorful cap is part of the Uygur ethnic minority's habiliment, and also one of the symbols of the minority. As early as the Tang Dynasty (618-907), most males of the Western Regions wore a pointed-topped felt hat with a turnup edge, quite similar to the present-day "Sipianwa". By the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), owing to the influence of Arabian and Central Asian culture, men of the Uygur ethnic minority had begun to shave their heads and wear small embroidered caps. In the beginning period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the colorful cap of the minority developed further in material and design. Leather was used in winter and damask silk in summer, with fowl feather inserted at the front. All caps for female were decorated with purl embroidery.

Through the constant innovation by the Uygur people of all places, the colorful cap has become increasingly delicate in workmanship and progressively various in styles. But the chief types are "Qiyiman" and "Badanmu", generally called "Gaba" (four-sided tiny colorful cap).

"Qinyiman" cap is flowery in color, and its needle work is fine and smooth. It is embroidered with chromatic threads made of silver and gold, and set with some small plastic beads of various colors. Boys and girls wearing them dance and sing under the shady grape trellis.

"Badanmu" was derived fromBadanxing(prunus amygdalus), which is a tree originating from Persia, characterized by its ability to blossom and bear fruit even in an arid desert. According to the character of prunus amygdalus and its meniscoid core, the highly imaginative Uygur use white silk thread, and the technique of combination of curve, straight, dots and lines, to embroider a pattern of apricots crowded around by ripples and beads, symbolizing that trickling springs are nourishing fruitful trees. Such a simple and elegant "Badanmu" colorful cap is especially favored by middle-aged and old people.

There are many ways to embroider the colorful cap: silk thread plane embroidering, cross-shaped embroidering, silk thread knot embroidering, bead string embroidering, lattice embroidering, gold and silver embroidering, crochet embroidering, enlaced cloth with soft nap embroidering and integrated embroidering combined with brede, enlacing, cluster and entwing. Uygur women first embroider chromatic patterns on the four pieces of cap cover, then sew them together, fixing the lining on it and putting it on the wooden mold, and finally add the black velveteen margin. So, the dainty little colorful cap has come out.

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Fuzhou Women

In early times in Fuzhou City, South China, married women and unmarried women could be distinguished from each other according to their hairstyle. In the period after theQingDynasty (1616-1911) and at the beginning of the Republic of China (1912-1949), married women there arranged their hair in a bun while unmarried women arranged their hair in a plait, which was a generally accepted custom, and no one should go against it. Those with a bun were called respectfully "Yisao" (married women) while those with a plait were called "Yimei" (unmarried women). So the mark was clear, and the borderline was definite: you can judge at first sight, without mistakes.

In the 1920s and 1930s, married women's hairstyle changed gradually from the bun to the modish perm. On the wedding day, the girl went to the barber's to have her hair permed, accompanied by her female friend or relative. After the perming, when she walked on the street, every one (no matter acquaintances or strangers) could understand that she would become a bride soon. In that period, the boundary betweenYisaoandYimeiwas still clear, so you would not make a mistake if you call someone according to her hairstyle.

Later on, unmarried teenage girls also had their hair permed, and someYisaowho had become mothers still plaited their hair, so it became hard to tell aYisaofrom aYimeiaccording to the hairstyle only.

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Embroidered Shoes: Making a Comeback

In the shoe family, Chinese-style embroidered shoes, which have been deemed as a perfect combination of the shoe culture and the art of embroidery, are a 100-percent handicraft creation by Chinese people. Deeply rooted in Chinese culture, they are reputed as "Chinese shoes".

In ancient China, ever since the matrilineal society was replaced by a patrilineal one, the social division of labor has been based on men ploughing and women weaving; the tradition of embroidering shoes has been passed down from one generation to another by Chinese women. Aesthetic conceptions, cultural traditions, ethics and morals, as well as the fashion of different dynasties, have all been well expressed by the needle and thread with which subtle and interesting changes have been incorporated.

But when and where did embroidered shoes first appear? Works that have been passed down from ancient times fail to provide us with explicit evidence. The popular tale of the "Jin Shoes" may, however, give us some inspiration.

In the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods dating back more than 2,600 years, the Jin was headquartered in Shanxi Province. In 606 BC when Jin Xiangong became the monarch, he set out to expand the territory, merging 10 vassal states. To immortalize his cultural and military achievements in the minds of the masses, Jin ordered that the shoes belonging to all women in the palace should depict 10 fruit or flower patterns, including pomegranate blossoms, peach blossoms, grapes, etc. He also maintained that all civilian girls should wear the "10-fruit shoes" at their weddings so that the generations to follow would not forget his legacy. At that time, the female embroidered shoes bearing such patterns were called "Jin shoes". From then on, the art of embroidery extended from shoes to clothing and other daily utilities.

Three hundred years later, the great philosopher Xun Zi was born in "the hometown of embroidered shoes". Xun attached much importance to the local embroidery trade. In his famous bookXun Zi, he recorded the emerging popularity of the iron needle in embroidery, glorifying the embroidering needle from the viewpoint of a philosopher. He noted that apart from embroidery the needle can also promote the economic development and stability of a society. Even in neoteric times, local silk fabrics and embroidery were still well reputed both home and abroad. The local women began their embroidering careers at an early age, spending over 10 years on their embroidered matrimonial shoes. They did this to demonstrate their loyalty for love and their aspiration to happiness. Societal reforms also rendered the craft of embroidery as an important standard for appraising a girl as "clever and deft".

Colorful silky threads are used to embroider elaborate patterns on the shoe from heel to toe, and from the sole to the shoe padding.

The themes for shoe embroidery originate from daily life -- such as folk culture and folk customs -- and nature, including flowers and grass, birds and beasts, and theatrical figures.

The seemingly traditional embroidered shoes fall into different types: trendy, indoor and traditional. The most attractive aspect of embroidered shoes is their soft texture and comfort. As a result, embroidered shoes are back in vogue, especially among young people. The perfect combination of the fashion and tradition produce a truly unique product.

Many young people believe embroidered shoes add a touch of elegance to the modern woman without looking too conservative. And more than 20 ethnic groups still wear embroidered shoes as part of their characteristic dress. Embroidered shoes have become more than footwear these days -- they are one of the nation's cultural treasures.

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