Chinese Boys' Clothing: Activities



Figure 1.--China has a number of children's choirs. Normally they are mixed choirs with both boys and girls. We have no information on individual choirs at this time. This looks to be a mixed teen choir.

Boys in China, as in all other countries, engage in a wide range of activitiies for which specialized clothing are costuming is worn. Here we are just beginning to collect some basic information. This clothing and costume has changed over time and along with changing political regimes in China. This includes choir, dance, music, school, sports, youth groups, and a range of other activities. There are several children's choirs in China, normally mixed choirs with both boys and girls. There are also several dance groups. Many such groups specialize in ethnic or folk groups. We know less about music. Most Chinese schools require school uniforms. Sports are popular in China, but there does not appear to be any tradition of inter-scholastic athletics or broad-based programs, like children's soccer leagues, giving children of average ability the chance to enjoy competitive athlectics.

Choirs

There are several children's choirs in China although we have very limited information about them. We do not know if there were children's choirs in the long historical tradition of China. We know that informal choirs were organized by Chruistian missionaries. The first formal choirs we havecnoted are from after the 1949 Communist Revolution. The Chinese choirs that we have noted are normally mixed choirs with both boys and girls. We have observed no tradition of boys' choirs as in the West. We have no information on individual choirs at this time. We know little about these choirs, incliding the type of music they perform, who sponsors them, and how they are costumed. These choirs include different age groups. We have noted both children's and teen choirs. Ethnic or regional costuming appears less important in these choirs than with dance groups. Some have costumes of rather formal western clothes (figure 1). Others appear to perform in simple almost casual children's clothes.

Dance

There are also several Chinese dance groups. Many such groups specialize in ethnic or folk groups. Again normally these groups are mixed with both boys and girls performing together, often in elaborate costumes.

Holidays

We do ot yet have much information on Chinese holidays. We do know that the most important celebration since time immemorial is New Years. The Chinese of course are especially noted for celebrating New Years. Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside China. It comes at a different time than the European celebration. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month. With the Revolution (1949) we have many new holidays and the elimination of some traditional holidays. Taiwan has seven legal holidays, including New Year's Day, Chinese New Year (Spring Festival), Qingming Festival, May Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Day, and National Day. China has more, both national and local holidays. There are also special days that are observed, but not holidays. New Years is a national holiday (January 1). Spring Festival and Chinese/Lunar New Year is a national holiday (various dates -- January-February). The festivuties are celratd as Golden Week at the national and local level. The Lantern Festival is observance (February 22). International Women's Day is observed (March 8). Zhonghe Festival is oserved (March 10). ArborDay is observed (Marh 12). Qing Ming Jie Day is a national holiday (April 3-4). Labor Day is an important national holiday in part because of the Commnist ideological focus on workers (May 1). Youth Day is observed (May 4). Children'd Day is observed (June 1). Dragon Boat Festival is aational holiday (June 9-11). Communist Party Foundation Day is oberved (July 1). Maritime Day is observed (July 11). Army Day is observed (august 1. The Prople's Liberation Army has great prestige in China. Double Seven Festival is observed (August 9). Spirit Festival is observed (Augus 17). We thinknthis is something like ancestors day. Teachers' Dayis observed (September 10). Mid-Autumn Festival is anational holiday (Septenber 15-17). Nation Day is a national holiday (October 1) an celebrated as National Day Golden Week. Thereare both national an local celebrations. ay Double Ninth Festivalis onserved (October 9). Journalists' Day is observed November8). Chtist isobserved, mostly by Christmas families (December 25).

Music

We know little about music.

Schoolwear

Chinese school children in the 2000s all wear uniforms. The uniforms are seasonal, depending on where the school is located in China. The summer uniforms usually consist of short pants and a shirt in the same style, sometimes in quite bright colors. Sailor collars are frequent for girls. One favourite style is a colored suit with piping in white or a contrasting color. Children used to wear their school uniforms with red Young Pioneer scarves, but this is now less common.

Sports

Sports are popular in China, but there does not appear to be any tradition of inter-scholastic athletics or broad-based programs, like children's soccer leagues, giving children of average ability the chance to enjoy competitive athlectics. In China the Government's focus on sports has been to identify a small number of gifted potential athletes at an early age and provide them specialized training so they can compete in international athletic competitions.

Work

Many Chinese children had to work. Child labor was also a problem in America and Europe, but it was an especally severe problem in China because of the crushing problem. Relatively few children wee able to attend school and a vast paprt of the population was illiterate. Children in China worked as virtual slaves in terrible conditions. Most of the available images show Cinese child laborers in traditional clothing. Once the Republic was established in 1911, there was increasing interest in launching a national educational system. Many schools were founded, but still most chgildren had to work. The Government energies were focused on first fighting the war lords (1910s-20s) and then the Japanese (1930s and early 40s). Only after the Communists emerged victorious in the Civil War (1945-49) did the Chinese Government begin to address the issue of child labor and education in a comprehensive fashion.

Religion

Man in pre history generally developed animistic beliefs. And there were many similarities in the religions of the great rivel valley civilizations as well as the subsequent ancient civilizations had many similarities. A factor here was that many were in contact such as Mesopotamia and Egypt and to a lesser extent the Indus Valley civikization. China was an exceotion. China was isolated from the other early river valey civilizations even though it developed after these civilizatins were well established. There are as a result more diffrences between China than the other rivervvalley civilizations. One of the most significant differences is religion, so much so that many observers contend that the Chinese throughout their long history have not been as concerned with religion as the other great river valley civikizations and subsequent civilizations. That is probably not entirely correct. What does seem to be a fair statement is that the Chinese have not shown the same interest in metaphysical speculation and supernatural beings. And the Chinese seem to be the first important civilization to develop a healthy intellectual scepticism toward gods. Several religions have taken root in China and folk religion is also important. And attempts to influence the forces which control both the human and natural worlds have been an important element in Chinese religious practives. We can see this in the intricate web of religious, superstitious and magical beliefs and practices some of which date back to prinitive pre-historic animism. China imported Bufhism from India long the Silk Road. It mixedcwith Chinese culy=tural constructs like Confuscim and Taoism without the antagnoism and violence associated with religious traditions in the West. The Communists after seizing power (1949) adopted an official policy of athesism and launched a effort to desroy ancient religious traditions and organized religion. Foreign missionaries were expelled. The Chinese effort while widespread and executed with the full force of the state unrestrained by Western concepts of civil liberties were less successful than once assumed. The Communists did reduce the importance of the clan and lineage, it dis not break the importabce of tge family which remained the central focus of production. And the rural reforms which followed the Cultural Revolution have pnly reinforced this. The ruling Communist Party devoted considerable energy to destroying the the family cult associated with Confucianism and popular religion they continue to flourishes, especially in the countryside. They continue to be called 'superstitious practices'. The Party's sensativity toward religion can be seen in the massive cmpaign launched againt Falung-Gang. Curiously the Party seems passive toward the growth of Christianity in recent years. Once deried as a tool of foreign deveils, Christianity has become the most dynamic religion in the China that implement free market caputalist reformd that in only two short decades has propelled China into the forefront of tecworld economy. Itvi probably no accident that it is Protesrant Chridtisnity that has attracted a major following in China. A British student has asked about clothing worn in China for religious observations. "I need to ask you a few questions about Chinese clothing in the moden day for a report I am writing. I want to know what Chinese people wear to pray or in festivals." HBC at this time has little information on religious attire. China's Communist Government today no longer bans religion. (Earlier especially during the Cultural Revolution, religion was actively supressed.) Today the Government tolerates religion, but limits the practice of it. Only religions which apply for an receive official recognition can operate in China. Government officials tend to be suspicious about religious activity, considering it a threat to the regime. In recent years the banned Falung Gong has been actively supressed by the Government which consider it a cult adversely afecting the morals and ell bing of the people. The Government clearly believes that it must control reliou practice in the county. Those who attempt to practice an unrecognized religion can receive a severe prison penalty. The Communist Party still controls access to education and those active in religious activity are often denied access to education, especially university eduction. As a result, there is not a great deal of public praying. As to traditional religious festivals, we are unsure at this time to what extent they are tolerated or how people dress for them.

Youth Groups

China as a Communist country has the Young Pioneer movement and does not permit Scouting. Once virtually all Chinese children wore their red Young Pioneer scarves to school and elsewhere, but this is no longer as common. All Chinese children have to belong to the Young Pioneers youth group. Normally children just wore red scarves with their ordinary clothes. For special occasions, a Young Pioneer boy might wear a red scarf with white shirt. Youth leades were idenyified by red bars on their sleeves. There are three official position in Young Pioneer, one bar is junior captain, two bars are a mid-captain, and three bars is the highest rank. Scouting has not been permitted in most of China since the Revolution (1949), but does operate in Hong Kong and Taiwan.








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Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Long pants suits] [Knicker suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits] [Jacket and trousers] [Blazer] [School sandals] [School smocks] [Sailor suits] [Pinafores] [Long stockings]



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Created: August 28, 2001
Last updated: 8:43 PM 5/31/2012