Clothes en­coun­ters

Hanfu cul­tural fes­ti­val in Xi­tang an­cient town at­tracts 40,000 en­thu­si­asts

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Huang Lan­lan

Xi­tang, ascenic yet rather quiet an­cient town in East China’s Zhe­jiang Prov­ince, livened up over the week­end as thou­sands of vis­i­tors dressed up in hanfu, the tra­di­tional cos­tume of Han Chi­nese peo­ple, de­scended on its cob­ble-stone streets. Han is the largest eth­nic group in China, witha pop­u­la­tion of over 1.2 bil­lion at present. Its cloth­ing dates back to 2000 BC and boasts 4,000 years of his­tory. Af­ter Manchu rulers es­tab­lished the Qing Dy­nasty (1644–1911) in 1644, hanfu was for­bid­den and grad­u­ally dis­ap­peared from pub­lic life.

Re­cently, how­ever, this time­honored cloth­ing has been mak­ing a come­back in China, with an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple study­ing its his­tory and even wear­ing it in their daily life. Spurring this re­newed love af­fair with

hanfu is the an­nual Hanfu Cul­tural Fes­ti­val in Xi­tang, one of China’s big­gest hanfu-themed events since 2013.

“This year, more than 15,000 peo­ple signed up for the four-day fes­ti­val in ad­vance,” in­tro­duced Luo Hui, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of event or­ga­nizer Fang Wen­shan Cul­tural Me­dia Ltd. “We found that the ac­tual num­ber of par­tic­i­pants was much higher, ap­prox­i­mately 40,000 in to­tal.”

From Satur­day to Tues­day, sev­eral tra­di­tional cul­tural per­for­mances and ac­tiv­i­ties were held in the an­cient town, in­clud­ing an old Chi­ne­ses­tyle wed­ding cer­e­mony, an archery com­pe­ti­tion, hanfu cat­walk shows, tra­di­tional hand­i­craft work­shops and even a blind-date event just for sin­gle

hanfu lovers. It’s worth men­tion­ing that, among all the hanfu wearers in Xi­tang over the week­end, an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity were un­der 30 years of age. Un­like the now-clichéd West­ern brand cloth­ing that so many older ur­ban Chi­nese

ob­sess over, many Chi­nese mil­len­ni­als are be­com­ing more proud of their own tra­di­tional cul­ture.

Li Xiang is a young hanfu en­thu­si­ast who par­tic­i­pated in Xi­tang’s fes­ti­val

this year. The 27-year-old is at­tracted by its wide sleeves and lay­ered loose

robes. “Hanfu is beau­ti­ful in de­sign and com­fort­able to wear,” he told the

Global Times. “It makes wearers look dig­ni­fied and el­e­gant.”

It was the first time that Li par­tic­i­pated in this fes­ti­val, tak­ing him about three hours to travel from his home in

u, the cap­i­tal city of Zhe­jiang. “I came to meet and make friends with other hanfu lovers,” he said. “Here, I never feel alone.”

Apart from new­com­ers like Li, there were also many vet­eran par­tic­i­pants, such as Si­nan (pseu­do­nym) from

neigh­bor­ing Jiangsu Prov­ince. “I’ve come here for three con­sec­u­tive years,” she told the Global Times.

In 2014, Si­nan, the for­mer de­signer quit her job to start an on­line store that sells her self-made hanfu. “It was quite dif­fi­cult at the be­gin­ning, even my par­ents didn’t sup­port me,” she

re­called. In the eyes of Si­nan’s fam­ily, it was un­wise to give up a sta­ble job, es­pe­cially to pur­sue an out­dated cloth­ing line. Over the past three years, how­ever,

Si­nan’s store has grown to be­come one of the most pop­u­lar on­line hanfu shops. The store’s Weibo ac­count has 72,000 fol­low­ers. “The mar­ket is grow­ing so fast in re­cent years,” she told the Global Times. “I’m glad to see more peo­ple be­come in­ter­ested in hanfu.”

Some en­thu­si­asts are pass­ing on their love and pas­sion to the next gen­er­a­tion. Satur­day af­ter­noon in Xi­tang, a 3-year-old girl dressed up in red hanfu at­tracted the at­ten­tion (and pho­tos) of many passersby. The girl, nick­named Xiangx­i­ang, was one of the youngest par­tic­i­pants of the fes­ti­val.

“I my­self love hanfu very much and like to share its beauty with my fam­ily,” said Xiangx­i­ang’s young mother, 25-year-old Wu Yan­jun. The fam­ily of three all wore eye-catch­ing red hanfu with elab­o­rate em­broi­dery.

“My daugh­ter is too young to learn much about hanfu now, but she still thinks it’s very beau­ti­ful,” Wu told the Global Times. “I will teach her more when she grows up, not only some ba­sic knowl­edge about the cloth­ing it­self but also its long his­tory and rich tra­di­tional cul­ture.”

Photo: Huang Lan­lan/GT

Two young women in hanfu style each other’s hair on Satur­day.

(Clock­wise from far left) Pho­tos: Cour­tesy of the event or­ga­nizer and Huang Lan­lan/GT

The an­nual Hanfu Cul­tural Fes­ti­val held in Xi­tang; Li Xiang (right) with his friends in hanfu; Wu Yan­jun (right) with her fam­ily in hanfu; Chil­dren in hanfu; Demon­stra­tion of an old Chi­nese-style wed­ding; Si­nan in hanfu; Peo­ple buy hand­made Chi­nese...

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