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Floral ornaments crowning attraction of fishing village

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-27

5.jpegTraditional costumes and zanhua headdress are exhibited on March 8 at a fashion show in Quanzhou, Fujian province. [ZHANG BIN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

Modern twist

In 2022, Hu Titi traveled from Guiyang, Guizhou province, to Quanzhou, to visit Huang's mother Weng and undergo the full zanhua experience. She learned how to comb her hair and how to use hairpins to form a stable bun in order to decorate her head with flowers.

"Besides exploring the natural landscape, old architecture, and customs and traditions of the village, I also gained in-depth knowledge about Xunpu, where tradition and modernity merge," said Hu.

Last year, she went to Paris and under the Eiffel Tower shot photos and videos of herself dressed in traditional Chinese clothes and a zanhua. She also offered passersby the opportunity to try on the headdress.

In April 2023, Huang Yimei and a fellow Quanzhou native, opened one of the first zanhua stores in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The business is located by a riverside, which is home to restaurants and coffee shops that are popular with young people.

Huang Yimei combines zanhua headwear with clothes from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) as Hangzhou served as the Southern Song capital from 1127 and 1279.

Her customers include older women, and many mothers and daughters like to have photos taken of their hair being prepared in the zanhua style.

"Customers come from 9 am to 10 pm," she said. "I didn't go back to my home in Quanzhou during Spring Festival this year because of the rising number of customers."

Zhang Wencheng, from Yong'an county, Fujian province, has a PhD from Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Hotel and Tourism Management. From 2017 to 2019, he traveled to Xunpu more than 10 times to do research for his doctorate.

"The centuries-old fishing village and the people's traditional lifestyle are not fading away," Zhang said, adding that Xunpu's history dates back over 800 years.

"The local people's lifestyle is closely associated with and affected by the ocean. The women of Xunpu village shouldered much more responsibility than the men in the families as the men were usually not at home," Zhang said.

He said he met a woman in Xunpu in 2018 who was in her 80s and whose teeth were almost all gone. She wore a bright shirt and had flowers on her head.

"She sang folk songs for me, expressing women's struggle without their husbands at home. After she finished her song, she told me that despite all the hardships, she still felt happy and full of hope."

When he returned to visit the elderly woman in 2019, she had died. Zhang compared the spirit of Xunpu women to the ocean, which is "vast, broad, generous and tolerant".

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