China Creates a New Holiday to Celebrate Traditional Clothing

China has established a new national holiday to celebrate traditional clothing, also known as huafu.

In a Weibo announcement on April 8, the state-run Communist Youth League announced that the first China Huafu Day will be on April 18, to be organized by video site Bilibili in cooperation with its media arm and Dongjia, an e-commerce platform.

Its first promotional photo has “New Era, New Huafu, New Youth” in bold red characters.

Image via Weibo / Communist Youth League

The date was chosen as it coincides with the lunar calendar birthday of the mythical Yellow Emperor, sometimes called Huangdi, who supposedly reigned from 2698 BCE to 2598 BCE — just in time when huafu came to existence.

According to Sixth Tone, the new holiday likely chose huafu instead of hanfu to be more inclusive of China’s 55 ethnic minority groups. Hanfu, the ancient dress of the country’s Han majority, has been the more common term to describe Chinese clothing.

However, some scholars reportedly question its historical accuracy. It was only in 2003 when a “hanfu movement” kicked off and advocates conjured a modern definition of the terminology. It is not listed in the authoritative, one-volume Contemporary Chinese Dictionary.

The Hanfu Movement in November 2005

A complete hanfu garment consists of several pieces of clothing put together.

These include: (1) yi, an open cross-collar garment; (2) pao, a closed full-body garment; (3) ru, an open cross-collar shirt; (4) shan, an open cross-collar shirt or jacket worn over the yi; (5) qun/chang, a skirt worn by both men and women and (6) ku, which are trousers or pants.

Image via Flickr / Hanfu Love (CC BY 2.0)

The celebration will feature a huafu photo contest, more than 30 huafu brands, and the launch of a photography app that allows users to turn their pictures into huafu-like images.

There will also be talks, a fashion show and a concert to be held in the ancient city of Xi’an in Shaanxi Province.

Image via Weibo / Communist Youth League

Wang Jiawen, publicity director at Chonghui Hantang, one of the participating huafu brands, told Sixth Tone that the booming interest is due to the style’s beauty, the youth’s openness and China’s strategy of “cultural confidence.”

Still, he vows to keep the term hanfu.

“The use of ‘huafu’ by this activity won’t influence our support of the concept of hanfu. We firmly believe that hanfu will be acknowledged and accepted by more and more people.”

Modern Hanfu. Image via Flickr / Hanfu Love (CC BY 2.0)

What do you think of China’s new holiday?

Feature image via Wikimedia Commons / (Left): hanfulove (CC BY 2.0) | (Right): hanfulove (CC BY 2.0)

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