Women’s upper garments : 大襟衫 (right buttoned unlined garment)

大襟衫 (right buttoned unlined garment)

The clothing is very commonly worn by the Hakka women. It is seperated into 2 kinds. the short ( 短衫) and the medium long (中长). The short is wore during the beginning of summer to the mid autumn, for the weather is warm, the long medium is wore furing the spring and winter when the weather is much colder. The short  appeal much to the younger hakka girls whilst the medium long are more liken to be worn by the older woman who are wives. the construction of the 2 kinds of clothing is much the same, the buttons are at the right. And they differ in the height and width . The short  used  blue , grey , black and maroon cotton or ko-hemp as the main material. Very few is made of silk. The medium long uses the same material but differs in colour. The medium long colors have much vibrant colours on the sleeves rings and the rim of the buttons. The short mostly doesnt have.


The 大襟衫 (right buttoned unlined garment) is suitable for most age group of the Hakka females. Different HuiAn ‘s short shirt, the hakka however have the value of  “movement without exposing shoulder, sitting without showing the buttock.” The medium long wore are by the wives, older woman . It is suited for many kinds of activity, be it farming, visiting, housework. The uniquity od the clothing is about the conservativeness and not reveling od the body and also to appear plain and simple, elegant. It could also bring out the beauty of the shapely female body.  The right botton design enables the mother a simpler job in breastfeeding.

the short would have a raised collar, coupled with the fabric button and usage of bright colour fabric is eye catching and beautiful


Meanings in Hakka clothing

Preservation of the Central plain Hans culture

The hans race is the basis of the Central Plain . Hakka as a sub han chinese  due to war and strife, migrates to the south. Though in constant migration, Hakka stubbornly kept central plain heritage, for they feel that there is hope of going back to its homelands.This hope of going back, eventually becomes the pillar of their fighting spirit against hardship as well as enemies.

The hakka are resilent against other clothing culture. For during the 300 year Qing dynasty ruling, the Hakka but still wears the ming Dynasty clothing. However, wearing the Ming dynasty clothings , the hakka call it 唐装, Tang clothings.

If an old grandmother who was well endowed with generation of children and grand children, would wear phoenix headdress and elaborate gown during her funeral. It differs from the normal funeral clothes if one were to pass
away, these special clothing are said to be only wore by the rich women in the Ming Dynasty.

After the Qing Dynasty , the qipao wore by the Manchus was widely spread throughout China. These dress exemplifies the figure of the Chinese woman and formed a characteristizing status in the China clothing. However it was not is used by the hakka female as they found it not practical as they worked in the fields.

Showing of unity and teamwork / family cohensiveness
Migration in modules of family of the same surname and close ties, move into south. Due to Change of environment and fighting off of original inhabitants, requires teamwork as well as the cohesiveness of family members. Unity can seen in hakka clothing. It shows exclusiveness , conservative,  uniform like and the lack of changes among most of the clothings.

The Hakka has value of ancestry , words of wisdom and way of life pass down from generations to generations. Little changes are made to these knowledge.

Woman in Hakka culture has earned much respect and less marginalizes.  Often they share the load of taking care of the family. This is because usually the husband of the family would look for jobs outside the village to support
the family. The wife would have to work to support the family, take care of young and old. Thus, the managerial quality of hakka woman is great. The Hakka families grew their own crops for sustainability as well as source
of income.these tasks often lands into the hands of the Hakka women. Sewing, as a secondary income could also be seen in the Hakka women community. This chore is often done at night, after their work in the fields in the day.

There are little differences between the  man and woman costume, as this shows the working ability of the women as compared to the man are on par. In the social casting , clothing did not differ much, this shows the equality among the hakkas and the value of sharing joys and woes as a whole.

Thriftiness of hakka seen in clothing

Agriculture played an important role in the civilization of China , likewise for the Hakka people. After migrating southwards, they reside in the mountainous area where arable land is scare while the population is huge. A method to
solve the problem is to open up new lands and making them suitable for farming. The Hakka sees this as a method of boosting their economy. There is a say that poor is who have unexplored/un use land, rich is who has no wasted
land. and cant seperate the rich from the soil.

However, the Hakka are not in favourable of being in business, they have a traditional bias against merchants, seeing merchants as unscrupulous. Thus merchandising in the Hakka village are not very popular. The Hakka would have a special day of goods exchange for every five days of work.

The tradition roles for gender in the Central plains are “男耕女织” literally translated as man plough woman sew. However,  the situation in Hakka differs, often man would go out and find jobs, whilst the woman will take over the
“plough” meaning to tend the fields but would also need to sew. As mentioned by a Taiwan Hakka scholar, the Hakkas due to migration, are simple and down to earth, they are very self reliant , wont seek help from outside. This
could also be seen through the cloth The Hakka women are skilled in weaving, during their spare time, they would make cloth from the fibre of pineapple leaves and ramie for summer ,cotton for autumn and winter. It is said that the cloth they weave are strong and resilient to dirt, simple and elegant, cheap and beautiful.  Thus, plain and simple are the biggest unique characteristics in the Hakka clothing, which are made from the cloth.

Simplicity in hakka clothing

The style of clothing in Hakka are uniformed and simple. However, this doesn’t mean that the Hakka are not aware extravagant clothing. The original Tang clothing which the Hakka wore are elaborate and complex. As migrants from
the Central Plains, the hakka knew this. The ” 大襟衫” (right buttoned front unlined  garment) and 大裆裤(“bulky pants”) are the main body of Hakka clothing picked from the Tang heritage, They are chosen for their simple elegance  as well as their practicality and functionality. They are sewed by hakka woman. As the woman are busy in the fields, some details/ motifs are taken out and simplified, this saves money and also save time. It also shows the
frugal attitude of the Hakka.

Translated from 客家服饰文化,  by 郭 凡, 张佑周,  publisher: 福建教育出版社

Hakka Clothings revisited, Men’s upper clothing

Hakka clothings

The Hakkas are traditional and conservative in their values and habits, thus when it comes to clothing, even till now in a modern society, they are still stubbornly sticking to their tradition costume.  This is probably because they are living in the rural mountainous which allow minute influences to seep into their culture.

Men’s  upper Clothing

对襟短衫 ( front button chinese short jacket)

The Hakka males called this wear the 唐装 ( Tang Costume). It is the common wear for the Hakka males be it for working outdoors or indoors. There are little changes to the style of the clothing. The structure of the wear is simple. Thhe top part is narrow and the bottom part is wide. The height of the clothing is short. It is either collarless or having short collar.  It is formed halved at left and righted, the elbow and wrist cloth  are separate cloth that attached to the main 1/2 structure. The back of the left right halves are joined at the spine by sewing. 9 cloth buttons connects at the front.


Prior to the revolution, this clothing is very popular for  the Hakka males, however during the revolution the “Sun Yat Sen wear” took a dominant role. Despite of this, this wear is still wore by the olden male generation, especially in the rural mountains. Two distinctive qualities of the wear, first the material of the wear is sturdy,  the material is hand weave cloth from cotton and ko-hemp. It is lacked of decoration and is  able to withstand against washing, friction and wearing. Secondly, the structure is simple and thus could be easily hand sewn by the women of the hakka community. Be it for tall or short , fat or skinny man ,  the measurements for this cloth functuates only a little, thus is almost a one size fits all. This make creation and mending of the clothing easy. Thirdly, the clothing’s adaptability is  strong.  It is wore by the youths to the elders and also could be worn in many occasions.

The colour design of the wear is often in blue, grey and black. There are little changes to the form and style. For the poorer families,  this wear could be passed down from generations or generations,  mended over and over again.

中长对襟衫 ( medium long chinese jacket)


This garment is also called the 唐装外套 ( Tang overcoat). The style of the garment is similar to the 对襟短衫 ( front button chinese short jacket) .The difference is the width of this wear is wider and the height of the clothing is taller.  The lower part of the wear spreads out  like a fan like shape. This wear is wore in all seasons except in the summer. It is wore as a outer clothing which protect the wearer from cold.  Not only does it protect the wearer from the cold , it also protects the inner wear from getting dirty. The colours is also limited to blue, grey and black, like the 对襟短衫.

马褂 (mandarin jacket)


This clothing is usually wore as an outer coat. It is usually seen wore by the gentry and scholars who reside in the villages as well as the cities. This garment is always coupled with the 长袍 (long gown). The height of the jacket is very short and its length reached at the waist level and up. It overlaps the 长袍 (long gown) at the waist area, wearer having two layer of clothing at the waist.   The material , structure and color of the 马褂 (mandarin jacket) is similar to the 对襟短衫 ( front button chinese short jacket)

长袍 (long gown)


The 长袍 (long gown) is the everyday wear for  the intellects and the gentries. The workers and commoners will not wear them. Some times it is seen as a one piece wear connecting the the upper garment with the lower gown (long dress). The buttons are side right.  The materials used to make the clothing is usually grey and black cotton. The wear gives the wearer a steady outlook.

短褂(背心) singlet


These sleeveless  singlets are wore by the commoner class of the hakkas, those who work outside.  There are typically 2kinds, the front buttoned (对襟) and the side buttoned(大襟). The constructs of the wear is simple,  simple to make, usually made from white and grey cotton. It can be wore in sunny and rainy weather, also it shows the masculinity of the hakka men.  If the weather is cold, it could be worn as a inner garment.

Untitled-4 ( outer double layer singlet)

The design of the garments is very similar with the 短褂(背心) singlet. It is however an outer wear. It is two layered. Outer is usually black or blue in colour,  inner is grey and white color.  Cotton is optionally fitted in between the layers as padding. It is wore during not so cold conditions. It is also worn as an outer clothing covering long sleeve shirt. It makes the wearer look unrestrained and stylish.

短棉袄,  短皮袄 (short cotton lined jacket, short fur lined jacket)


This wear is wore to kept warm from the extreme cold weather. It is dual layer like the  Untitled-4 ( outer double layer singlet).  the colours could be inner black outer grey or vice versa. It could be wore indoors as well as outside . To prevent from getting dirty,  one could wear 中长对襟衫 ( medium long chinese jacket). The buttons could be the front buttoned (对襟) and the side buttoned(大襟).

直襟中长棉袄, 皮袄 ( straight medium cotton lined jacket, straight medium fur lined jacket)


This piece of garment is evolved from the 短棉袄,  短皮袄 (short cotton lined jacket, short fur lined jacket). The height of the garment is taller and the width is wider. It is constructed in similar ways too.  The unique part is about the placement of the buttons with is placed at 1/4 from from the right.  There are two slits at the side of clothing  is to made as pockets as well as to provide protect of the exposed hands from the cold climate. It is usually worn for travelling and sometimes visiting friends and relatives, It is not worn for working . There is also a slight collar. This garment is suitable for the varied age group of guys.

长棉袄, 皮袄 ( long cotton lined jacket, long fur  lined jacket)


This jacket is mostly been worn by the older generation. It is usually worn in colder places and climate. It looked like the 长袍 (long gown) . The buttons are usually constructed at the right and less in the middle.  The method of profuction is similar to the 短棉袄,  短皮袄 (short cotton lined jacket, short fur lined jacket).

Hakka Origins

youtube video on how the hakka came about.

Hakka one month infant wine (乡土 – 土楼满月酒 )

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

This documentary provides insight with the traditions and customs surrounding the Hakka celebration of one month of infant age as well as the related purposes and information pertaining the Hakka yellow wine .

Hakka yellow wine making process picture


click to enlarge

taken from http://hk.myblog.yahoo.com/liquorstory/article?mid=18&fid=-1&action=prev

Hakka wine making

Wine drinking is a common Hakka culture.People from all ages drink wine. Some Hakka provinces, will treat wine as tea at peaks of summer.  The wine also played an important role in celebrations as well as milestones of one’s life, for example, when one is getting married or celebrating its 50th birthday, graduate from school, babies been born, etc wine is been made. This wine played as a commemorative device. The wine mostly commonly referred as the yellow wine which is made from glutinous rice and was said that each Hakka household knows how to make it, more so is handled by the women in the family. Not only does the wine is used to shared with guests, it is also served as a gift. These gifts are especially evident in weddings, which the family of the bride will give it to the groom. when a child is born, the yellow wine , a chicken coupled with a string of firecrackers will be sent to the mother’s family to announce the good news.

info and pictures taken from http://forum.xitek.com/showthread.php?threadid=421307


1) selection: havest glutinous rice,  yield it at night will be better.
2) soaking glutinous rice in water for 2 hours

3) steam the rice in earthen jar, this process is important, firstly use strong fire to initiate boiling, maintain it with medium fire before it turns sticky,  do not scorch the rice.


4) Transfer the steamed rice into big jars , cool it in clean water


5) After 20mins, mix wine biscuit with the steam rice soaked it water, these will help in fermentation process.


6)Fermentation: in around 7 days, tilt the wine jar, then seal it properly for 2-3 months
(although wine extraction is possible it 2-3 weeks, but prolonged period
will increase  alcohol quality and prolong the livespan)


7)Extract wine: Press the distiller grains, seperate the wine “juice” fom the fermentaed rice . Put the wine juice to altar, seal it with lid , is to prevent bacteria



(8) place rice straw around the earth jar to heat the wine. Boil it for a day, this is to enhance flavoring.


9) let the wine to cool and leave it for a week. wine is ready for consumption after that.