Chinese New Year – Lavish Splendor of Costume Design
Chinese New Year Overview
Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration among the Chinese people and they celebrate it to the fullest with the dragon as their symbol. It is frequently referred to as the spring festival because it signals the beginning of spring. The Chinese New Year celebration begins on February 14, 2010, and will last for five days and in some parts of the world it lasts 15 days. This is the Year of the Tiger. The Chinese have always used a lunar calendar with each month beginning on the darkest day, thus the celebration is not on the same date each year. No one really knows how many eons the Chinese New Year has been celebrated.
This holiday is a time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. Chinese people start their new year with putting behind them all things of the past. They clean their houses, pay off debts, purchase new clothes, paint their doors and window panes, and even get new haircuts. New beginnings in life, even symbolically, are sometimes very healthy choices. They spend days before the event cooking food and preparing decorations.
Chinese Parade Float
Chinese New Year Parade
Women's Dresses in Celebration
Common Tradition in the Celebration.
Whether in China, or in Chinese populated area of the United States, we see the New Year celebrations. Many Chinese-American associations host banquets. There are many unique traditions to the Chinese New Year Celebration in addition to those I listed above
- One important tradition is the exchange of gifts. Traditionally a gift is in a small red envelope filled with “lucky money” for the children. Red is the color used to bring good fortune.
- The dragon is another popular symbol for Chinese New Year
- Food is also very important with families joining together for large feasts and food is placed on alters and to make offerings to the God’s. At the midnight feast ancestors are honored as well.
- At midnight the festival begins with brilliant firework displays, as no Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without them,
- Don’t underestimate the importance of appearance in the Chinese New Year celebrations. In Chinese tradition, elegant clothing is chosen to reflect the elegance of the lines of the human
Chinese Child Dressed for Celebration
Chinese New Year Beautiful Clothing
I am most intrigued by the beautiful costumes. Bright reds, pinks and gold are predominate in everyone’s dress. The costumes are very detailed and expertly designed typically using brocade silk. In China the manner of dress signifies the person’s social status.
The origin of the Chinese dress can be traced back to ancient designs. It may be a two piece outfits, along with a robe and sash, plus an outer jacket as well.
The woman's designs range from cheongsams, qupaos, mandarin blouses to jackets and pants. For men, Mandarin shirts with Mandarin collars, Dragon shirts, Kung Fu suits and Chinese coats are popular.
Chinese Man in Traditional Attire
Dress for Men and Women
As you can see by the man on the right marching in the parade, the mens costumes are very ornate, certainly comparing favorably to the womens costumes.
Embroidery on the beautiful fabrics is typical for both men and women. Chinese dress can be supplemented with accessories such as a fan, or jewelry of gold or silver. Often the designs on the New Year Dress are good luck signs or mythological scenes.
Jewelry is often made using precious stones and feathers which all together accentuate the beauty of the New Year dress. For men, belt hook and plaques are popular. For women, hair decorations with pins and combs were essential for their appearance.
Adorable Children in Full Dress
Another design is the Dragon costume always seen in the parades as its worn in the famous Dragon dance which is the highlight of the Chinese New Year Parade. The dragon is important in Chinese mythology and considered a symbol of good and desirable qualities. Dragons were originally known as ths spirit of the river and were believed to be in all forms of water. The original purpose of the Dragon Dance was to heal sickness but gradually it became a celebration of folklore. The Dragon and those in the dance carry it proudly with its lavish colors and fabrics.
I have found the clothing to be a most fascinating topic of the Chinese New Year Celebration.