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Ancient Chinese Capping and Pinning Ceremony

Updated on November 11, 2010
Full Dress Hat
Full Dress Hat

Capping ceremony for man means doing hair in a bun or coil and wearing a cap, while the hair-pinning ceremony means gathering hair into a knot and using a hairpin to hold it.

The ceremonies originated in the Zhou Dynasty over 2,000 years ago.

The ceremony of " Capping " for the boy and " Pinning " for the girl marked the arrival of the young people at the marriageable age, this age being fixed in time as twenty for the boy and fifteen for the girl; but there is sufficient evidence available to justify us in regarding these as the inferior limits, just as the supposed statutory age of thirty was the superior limit for the marriage of a man.

Marriage presumed a previous capping, and there are cases on record which point to twelve years as the earliest age at which a boy was " capped " if important reasons called for it. In Section IX., g. para. 5, it is noted that the Marquis of Chin said that Duke Hsiang of Lu might be capped, as he had reached the age of twelve.

Thus the assumption of the cap, as in Rome the assumption of the toga virilis, seems to have marked at first the arrival of puberty. This would also apply to the "pinning."

At the capping or pinning ceremony, a boy or girl received their Style name or Courtesy name ( zì ). A Style name or zì is usually based on the meaning of the given name.The Style took the place of the name given by the father and mother. A girl received her Style at her " pinning " could be married.


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