Fans of hanfu, the traditional clothing of China’s Han ethnic group, celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on Sep 13, 2019 in Qingdao, E China’s Shandong Province.Photo:Xinhua
A proposal to establish “Hanfu Day,” a holiday focused on the traditional clothing of the ethnic Han Chinese , at the two sessions has sparked heated discussions on Chinese social media, with netizens flooding the platform with posts covering both the pros and cons of such a move.
The proposal was put forward by Cheng Xinxiang, an intangible cultural heritage inheritor of Xiang embroidery and also a deputy of the 13th National People’s Congress.
The hashtag for a national “Hanfu Day” began trending on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo, earning 220 million views on the platform as of Sunday.
Some Chinese netizens expressed their support for a holiday for traditional clothing, but suggested it be called “Chinese costume day” as the traditional costumes of China’s ethnic minority groups are also part of the multi-cultural makeup of the country.
Chen Ningxi (pseudonym), a 28-year-old veteran ancient Chinese clothing blogger whose Douyin account has more than 20 million followers, told the Global Times that she is in favor of the proposal because it would allow more people to learn about traditional Chinese culture through Hanfu.
“Hanfu is not just clothing, it was something that intrigued me to learn more about Chinese handicraft including traditional Chinese bronzing, embroidery as well as accessories,” Ning said, talking about how she got caught up in her hobby.
“I felt very grateful to the proposal because as a stalwart fan of Hanfu, I noticed that the majority of Hanfu fans are quite young, and most people only see it as a kind of niche culture, just like Japanese ACGN culture in China,” Yu Zhu (pseudonym), a member of the China Traditional Culture Promotion Society, told the Global Times on Sunday.
But both seasoned Hanfu advocates recommended calling it “Chinese costume day” to include the traditional clothing of China’s 56 ethnic groups.
However, some voiced opposition to the proposal, saying “Our country is a unified multi-ethnic country, which is different from the Koreas and Japan. Hanfu can be a hobby for some, but it is not necessary to raise it to the level of a national holiday.”
Zheng Changling, deputy director of the Cultural Development Strategy Center at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, told the Global Times that the proposal does not work academically speaking as the definition of “Hanfu” is not clear.
“China has a long history that dates back thousands of years and experienced many dynasties. The clothing of the Han ethnic group in different dynasties was very different, and long-term ethnic integration has caused the Hanfu in different regions to become different,” Zheng explained.
“The popularization of Hanfu can be seen as a fashion trend, and each cultural trend has its own development, so there is no need to interfere with that,” he added.
Zheng also pointed out that setting up such a national day would not be beneficial to national unity and might be used as a weapon for those bearing anti-China sentiment.
“The Hanfu wave is a folk movement which shows the renaissance of traditional Chinese culture in China, but it will change its taste if we set it as a national day.”