The Toronto Guqin Society (TQS) and University of Toronto Chinese Undergraduate Association(CUAUT) will be performing a traditional Chinese coming-of-age ceremony, followed by a Chinese Archery ceremony. This is a part of a larger series of cultural events organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of Ontario United(CSSAUO), in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The ceremonies will take place on September 24, 2009, from 2-4PM, in the Quadrangle (open grass area) of Ryerson University (41 Gerrard St. E.). General admittance to the traditional ceremonies in the afternoon is free of charge. Tickets to the evening venue are priced at $10, and are purchasable from www.1ticket.ca.
TQS has painstakingly researched the details of the ritual and has successfully recovered and restored the previously thought lost music score from the Book of Odes, and will be integrating four sections with the ceremony, performed by members of TQS and the Toronto Chinese Symphony. Be sure to come witness this rare glimpse of traditional Chinese ritual and court music!
Traditionally, males at age 20 and females at age 15 undergo the coming-of-age, and the rituals are called Guan-li冠禮 and Ji-li笄禮respectively. Participants undergo three changes of traditional clothing and headwear to represent the process of maturity, legal empowerment, and burdening of social responsibility. Finally, the mentor figure gives every participant a unique zi 字, or courtesy name, to be used by others referring to the new adults as an honorific.
The She-li射禮, or Archery ritual, was used in pre-Confucian China as a method of leader selection. Confucian revisionism gave this ritual additional meaning of demonstrating proper ritual, manners, music, social order, and using a weapon for peace and education.
These rituals were lost in practice due to Manchurian imposing bans and censors on Han Chinese clothing and traditional culture during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), as well as Imperialism and Westernization since the 1850’s. Since 2003, an Internet movement beginning in China called on everyone to rediscover the lost Han Chinese culture and promote its value to global multiculturalism, debunking past stereotypes and taking pride in the Chinese heritage.
This event is officially supported by CSSAUO, TQS, and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto. The evening show is officially sponsored by CIBC, China Unionpay, and Scotiabank.
An introduction to Traditional Han Chinese Clothing
A detailed account of the Guan-li (Coming-of-age ceremony)
A detailed account of the She-li (Archery ceremony)