Do you know the meaning of “发hair” in Chinese culture? Let’s first look at one of the top 10 most popular Chinese words before we reveal the answer.
dàiwǒ chánɡfā jíyāo ,shàonián qǔwǒ kéhǎo?
待我 长发 及腰，少年 娶我 可好?
Will You Marry Me When My Hair Covers My Waist?
This sentence came from a girl’s blog post attached with two photos and soon became popular. The first photo is of a handsome young guy and a beautiful girl who fell in love with each other at a young age. The second picture is taken at the graduate ceremony, when they are both grown-ups. Then why did she wrote “Why would you marry somebody when her hair reaches her waist?” Why does “hair” has anything to do with one’s marriage?
In China, the tradition of having long hair has continued for thousands of years, as it is believed that what we have all come from our parents and we should cherish them thus cutting hair is believed as a un-filial behavior. No matter how hairstyle changed, both women and men wearing long hair is a tradition kept until 19th century. Up to now, having long, dark and straight hair is still a feature of classical beautiful girls.
Meaning of 发
There are two ways to explain the word “发”: The first is to take it as a verb in phrases such as “发送 (fā sònɡ) – to send”, “发现 (fā xiàn) – to discover. The second way to use the word is to take it as a noun in phrases such as “头发 (tóu fà) - hair”, “长发 (chánɡ fā) – long hair”, “理发 (lǐ fà) – to have a hair cut”, etc.
Note that when it is used as a noun, “发” is often used in poems as a symbol of gloomy mood.
báifà sānqiān zhànɡ, yuán chóu sì ɡè chánɡ.
My gray hair is three thousand feet long, and my sorrow is just as long as that.
jūn bú jiàn ɡāo tánɡ mínɡ jìnɡ bēi bái fà, zhāo rú qīnɡ sī mù chénɡ xuě.
君不见, 高堂明镜悲白发, 朝如青丝暮成雪。
You didn’t see that the person who sat in the church was lamenting his gray hair, which was black in the morning but turned gray because of sorrow in the night.
The above are two lines of Chinese poems for you to appreciate. It’s Ok if you can’t understand.