Introduction

The growing-up of a man is a process of metamorphosis. In the bygone days, the main purpose to hold an adult ceremony was to put the ceremony receiver under various tribulations, and finally took them into the society of adults. As the Book of Rites records, Male shall receive a capping ceremony at 20, and female a hairpin ceremony at 15. Both capping ceremony and hairpin ceremony were traditional adult ceremonies of ancient China. Both were hosted by the elderly of the same family clan for the youngsters according to the tradition. The adult ceremony dates back to the Zhou Dynasty, enjoying a history of over 2000 years. And many ethnic minorities have their own unique adult ceremony as well.

Adult Ceremony for Men C the Capping Ceremony

Adult Ceremony for Women C Hair-pinning Ceremony

Adult Ceremony for Men C the Capping Ceremony Adult Ceremony for Women C Hair-pinning Ceremony

The ceremony for men was called the capping ceremony, which means doing hair in a bun or coil and wearing a cap. In ancient times, the capping ceremony was held in February in an ancestral temple and the date was chosen by the person to be capped by divination. Three days before the ceremony, he would select an honored guest to perform the rite as well as a capping assistant to help out. During the ceremony, the host (in most cases, the father of the person to be capped), honored guest and the person to be capped were supposed to wear ceremonial attires. The man was first capped with an inner cap, followed by a cap and a scarf. After the three steps, the mans hair was combed into a bun, which suggested the beginning of adulthood.
Traditionally, after the completion of capping, the honored guest would deliver a congratulatory speech to the capped person. The speech was something like this: On this auspicious day, you are granted an adults attire. Its time for you to stop behaving like a child and to act as an adult. Be sure to maintain dignity and achieve moral excellence. Wish you a long life, a successful career and good fortune. After that, the capped person would perform a formal bow to his mother. Then the honored guest would give him another name, which was the style name of the ancients.

The ceremony for women was called the hair-pinning ceremony, meaning gathering hair into a knot and using a hairpin to hold it. The hair-pinning ceremony for women of ancient times was held after a womans engagement and before her wedding. It was held when the woman turned 20 at the latest. The procedures were almost the same as those of a capping ceremony, with slight differences. For example, the participants were mostly women, the woman coming of age would be granted an elaborate cornet, and the venue of the ceremony was usually inside a main room or an inner chamber.

The Procedures of an Adult Ceremony

Receive the guests; the guests take the seats

Receive the guests; the guests take the seats

Capping

Capping

Wine served; the receiver drinks up the wine from the host

Wine served; the receiver drinks up the wine from the host

Express appreciation; finish the ceremony

Express appreciation; finish the ceremony

Begin the ceremony; the ceremony receiver takes his/her seat

Begin the ceremony; the ceremony receiver takes his/her seat

Hair-pinning ceremony

Hair-pinning ceremony

Accept the style name; listen to the congratulatory speech

Accept the style name; listen to the congratulatory speech

Articles Needed in the Adult Ceremony

Cap

Cap

Cap
Hairpin

Hairpin

Hairpin
Han-style attire

Han-style attire

Han-style attire

Adult Ceremony in Chinese Ethnic Minorities

Yi Minority

Yi Minority

At the age of 15 to 17, girls of the Yi minority will have a skirt-changing ceremony, during which the girls will take off the skirts they wear in the childhood, and change into the adult skirts, symbolizing their coming of age.

Tibetan Minority

Tibetan Minority

At the age of 15 or 16, Tibetan girls will have an imaginary wedding ceremony, which is similar to the adult ceremony.

Dong Minority

Dong Minority

The boys of the Dong Minority should roll on the mud at the ages of 5, 10, and 15 respectively. They should be taken by their parents to finish the ceremony for the first two times, and do it on their own at 15, which is a symbol of their growing-up.

Bulang Minority

Bulang Minority

The adult ceremony of the Bulang Minority is called baoji. While in ceremony, they will sit around the fireplace and dye their teeth in black one after another in order. Their parents will send them adult gifts, symbolizing that they can begin to have a relationship.

Pumi Minority

Pumi Minority

The Pumi people will hold an adult ceremony when they are 13. They will first step on a piece of fat with their right foot, then step on a rice bag with their left foot, and finally kowtow respectively to the cooking stove, senior members in the family, and elder brothers in order. Thereafter, they should follow the dressing way of the adults and take part in social activities at will.

Jinuo Minority

Jinuo Minority

The Jinuo people attach great importance to the adult ceremony. When they reach 15, the girls will change their aprons as well as hair-styles, and start to carry tongpa (a kind of satchel) on their back; and when boys reach 16, they will wear Baotou (a kind of head wrapper) instead of a hat, and carry tongpa sent by their parents. Thereafter, they become a formal member of the village and enjoy the right of free love.