Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Coming of Age Ceremony in Chinese Culture

The Coming of Age Ceremony originated about 3,000 years ago, which was one of the most important ceremonies in Chinese culture.

 

However, it was forced to end 400 years ago when the Qing Dynasty ruled China. Nowadays, this ceremony has been recovered, but is different in some specifics from it used to be. 

 

In the history of China, when the men reached 20 and women reached 15, there would be a ceremony to show that they were grown ups, who were ready to get married and take relevant responsibilities.

 

In the ceremony, respected elders would put a special hat on a man's head, or tie up the hair of a woman using a hair ornament named Ji/Zan

 

In the past, the date and host of this ceremony were decided through divination. Now, the date could be someone's birthday or on some important holidays.    

On this ceremony, after all the guests have seat in the right position, parents would give a short speech. 

 

Then the person who was about to be an adult, would bow and show gratitude to all the guests for attending.

 

A respected elder that was chosen to hold this ceremony, would wash hands, then in three steps, comb and tie her hair up using Ji/Zan for a girl or put a hat on a boy.

 

After each step, the coming adult would kowtow to parents and thank them for giving birth to and raising him/her up, and to the elders and teachers for their care and educating.

 

Sometimes they would kowtow to show their loyalty to their country, and the responsibility to inherit Chinese culture.

Then the coming adult would get a literary name or honorific name (in the history of China, the real name could only be called by the elders and themselves; other people would use the literary name to show respect). 

 

Later he/she would pour some wine on the ground to worship the heaven and earth, drink a sip of wine, and eat one bite of rice. 

 

Then, one would kneel on the ground and listen to his/her parents' teaching or expectation. 

 

After showing gratitude for guests again, he/she could finally stand next to his/her father as a real adult. 

Nowadays, both boys and girls are considered adults when they are 18 in China. The Coming of Age Ceremony is more held for many people together, by school or some event holders.

 

Participants can wear both traditional Chinese Han Clothes, or school uniform, or some uniform from the event holders.