Two lists, just possibly somewhat partial, of what is In and what is Out in rural north China:
Things that are at no risk of going out of fashion:
- hawking and spitting / emptying contents of nose onto the floor
- exchanging cigarettes
- “leather” miniskirts
- piles of stinking rubbish by the roadside
- getting legless (for which there’s a nice Yanggao term, erjinban 二斤半)
(If Uncle Xi is as omnipotent as China-watchers suggest, then WTF?!)
- Hymn to the Three Treasures as first sung hymn (Opening Scriptures) on arrival at the soul hall.
Things that have gone out of fashion (cf. my book, Coda pp.357–61):
- Thanking the Earth
- funerary Communicating the Lanterns, Crossing the Bridges, yankou
- shengguan suites for earth and temple scriptures
- yunluo frame of ten pitched gongs, dizi flute
- reed-matting on the kang brick-bed (Plastic Rules OK)
- Serving the People [remind me when that was In?]
- pop music at funerals!!!
The latter came as a surprise to me. As you see in one of the most striking images of my film (from 30.32), whereas in the early 1980s villagers were glad to restore the “old rules”, by the 90s they were much more excited* by the pop bands performing on a truck outside the soul hall. Their acts soon became quite innovative. But over the last few years even the audience for pop has dwindled, as people can watch the Real Thing (sic) on their phones.
*In Li Manshan’s words: leqilaile 乐起来了!