Shanghai youth make Halloween their own
  ·  2023-11-13  ·   Source: NO.46 NOVEMBER 16, 2023

On Halloween this year, the area from Huaihai Road all the way to Nanjing Road in downtown Shanghai was a sea of cosplay carnival. The costumes and celebrations took on many Chinese elements, with revelers dressing up as current Internet influencers, classical figures in traditional Chinese culture and various walking memes. To an increasing extent, young Chinese are turning an originally Western tradition into one that is distinctly Chinese.

After this year's Halloween celebrations in Shanghai became a trending topic on social media, people's opinions were divided. While some ridiculed participation, others rejoiced in the joyous atmosphere, arguing that this was nothing but a new way of venting emotions and letting go of daily pressures.

Li Ming (Jinan Times): During this year's Shanghai Halloween, traditions of dressing up like ghosts were no longer the mainstream. Instead, the holiday was taken advantage of by young people to celebrate in a Chinese way. An increased number of costumes appearing in this year's parade were inspired by Chinese culture, such as characters from the literary classic Journey to the West, Taoist monks or the Chinese God of Wealth. Even a royal concubine from the TV drama The Empress in the Palace was spotted at the event.

The younger generation's smart transplanting of Chinese culture onto the Western festival showed their creativity. Give them a free environment to create and innovate, and they, rather than getting lost in Western culture, will reshape it with local cultural elements.

Some argued this year's Halloween was rife with negative elements that should never be spread across society. However, masquerading as figures from dramas, Internet influencers or celebrities was, to a large extent, a kind of self-mockery. Young people hoped to seize Halloween as an opportunity to assert themselves. In this sense, their strange ways of dressing and speaking, instead of reflecting cynical attitudes, implied their eagerness to be noticed and for their difficulties to be overcome.

Liu Jiahui ( Halloween offered a chance for the young to vent their pent-up emotions. It was a break from the high pressures of everyday life. The weird style of their outfits and makeup attracted onlookers, who were also cheered up by the hilarious scenes, and revelers laughed and delighted in each other's costumes.

Although, after a short-lived rave, parade attendees had to return to their routines and cope with difficulties as usual, this special carnival served as a happy moment to be remembered for a long time.

Liu Yiang ( When it comes to foreign culture, our principle has always been to absorb its valuable parts and abandon the rest. As for what happened during this year's Halloween in Shanghai, it was nothing but a fleeting moment of craze used by revelers to escape everyday life.

Tolerance and openness have always been a source of vitality. Cultural self-confidence is not about opposing anything foreign. It means respecting different forms of culture on an equal footing, as long as they are useful and helpful. Meanwhile, by learning from others, we will increase the value of Chinese culture. We have noticed the Spring Festival has been embraced by people in many other countries. They celebrate this festival and learn about Chinese customs. So it's all right to have a Halloween parade in China, too. 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

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