Remodeling confucian wedding rituals to Address China's Youth culture today: A case of using the classics to respond to recalcitrant problems

Hoyt Tillman, Margaret Mih Tillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In response to social and cultural problems in the wake of corrosive influences arising from the Cultural Revolution and Western individualism, two intellectuals in China have offered different versions of wedding rituals based upon the Confucian Classics in order to restore ritual as a powerful tool for individual, family, social and national renewal. Zhu Jieren, former director and current CEO of East China Normal University Press, planned a "modern version" of the wedding ceremony from Zhu Xi's Family Rituals for his son's ceremony in Shanghai on December 5, 2009. Zhang Xianglong, a philosophy professor at Peking University in Beijing, orchestrated a more antique Confucian wedding for his son in Beijing on June 20, 2010. Both made some accommodations to modern realities and used the same core quotations from the ancient ritual classics; moreover, both public intellectuals are pursuing reform from the grassroots of society and thus differ significantly from the state's approaches to reviving tradition and strengthening the Chinese family. In addition to explaining why each intellectual undertook his Confucian wedding project, we will explore why conservative proponents of "restoring antiquity" have criticized the Zhu wedding and lauded the Zhang wedding. Our interviews with participants reveal how profoundly moved the young couples were by the traditional ceremonies; thus, both Zhu and Zhang succeeded in giving new life to classical rites and leading participants to reconnect to traditional aesthetics and values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-245
Number of pages25
JournalTaiwan Journal of East Asian Studies
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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youth culture
wedding
religious behavior
China
intellectual
cultural revolution
individualism
antiquity
ritual
accommodation
quotation
Classical Studies
Youth Culture
Wedding
Confucian
director
aesthetics
university teacher
reform
interview

Keywords

  • Classics
  • Confucian revival
  • Gender roles
  • Ritual
  • Weddings
  • Zhu Xi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Cultural Studies

Cite this

Remodeling confucian wedding rituals to Address China's Youth culture today : A case of using the classics to respond to recalcitrant problems. / Tillman, Hoyt; Tillman, Margaret Mih.

In: Taiwan Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2013, p. 221-245.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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