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Adult name 字

A Chinese man can have a number of names.  A birth name is given by the parents at birth, and is used in most formal and family circles.  An adult name is bestowed either in the Coming of Age ceremony or in preparation for the upcoming wedding.

The ceremony us called  Shang Tou 上頭. This involved a symbolic act of placing a head gear on the man head, and signifies the oncoming of adulthood.  This ceremony can also be conducted with the combing of hair.

The ceremony is usually conducted by the parents of the son, or by a notable person (someone successful both in terms of wealth and children). The ceremony will include handing out red packet – filled with money or seeds from pine tree, signifying propagation of the next generation.

At this point of a man’s life, he is given a new name – an adult name 字.

This name may by written on red paper, in black ink and framed for the ceremony.  (字架)



Early Chinese migrants