Participants reenact a grand Tang Dynasty-style wedding ceremony at the Shanghai Mass Art Center's Lantern Festival-themed street fair, March 3, 2018. (Photo/Chinanews.com)
A grand Tang Dynasty-style wedding ceremony was reenacted on Saturday at the Lantern Festival-themed street fair organized by the Shanghai Mass Art Center.
A large crowd packed the center's first and second floors to watch the ceremony, which lasted for less than half an hour.
China has always been known for its ceremonies and the ritual for a wedding is the most significant among all family ceremonies. Traditional Han wedding ceremonies are noted for their elegance and solemnity. According to the clothing styles, traditional Han wedding ceremonies mainly fall into four categories: the Han Dynasty-style, the Tang Dynasty-style, the Song Dynasty-style and the Ming Dynasty-style.
The Tang Dynasty-style wedding presented on Saturday required the couple to perform four rites to complete the ceremony. The hair-binding rite is key to a Tang Dynasty-style wedding ceremony. The bride and the groom each cuts a wisp of their hair to put in an embroidered pouch and then the groom ties the pouch around the bride's waist. The rite symbolizes the two have tied the knot and will be forever in wedded bliss.
Li, the "bride", is a 23-year-old kindergarten teacher.
"It's my first time to experience a Tang Dynasty-style wedding ceremony and it helped me better know about traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies. Now I know there are many details to attend to in the ceremony. For example, when the couple performs the three kowtows, they need to be mindful of the differences between the bride's and the groom's gestures. I want my own wedding ceremony to be a combination of the traditional Han-style and the western style, and for the Han style, I may not necessarily choose the Tang Dynasty-style," Li said.
After watching the wedding ceremony, many young visitors also were itching for a try. They said they hope to have their own traditional Han wedding ceremonies in the future.
Wang Peng, director of Qingguo Xiangzi, a traditional culture promotion center based in Shanghai, said that recent years have seen a craze for traditional Han wedding ceremonies, especially among hanfu (Han clothing) buffs.
"Last year, after we held a Ming Dynasty-style wedding ceremony show here, many people came to consult us about how to customize such traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies," Wang said.
"So you can see many people are actually very interested in our traditional culture, but they used to not know much about it. Therefore, by cooperating with some guoxue (traditional Chinese culture) institutes, each year we plan to hold a traditional wedding ceremony of a certain dynasty to create a series and thus help more people better understand ancient Chinese wedding customs."