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Wedding Dresses: Why Do Chinese Brides Wear Red?

The traditional Chinese wedding dress has many differences as compared to its Western counterpart. Chinese wedding dresses are generally much more decorative, and much more work is put into them. Oftentimes, the wedding gown itself is based upon the region that the bride's family is from. For example, if the bride's family is from the South, she may wear the Cheongsan; if she is from the North, she would wear the Qi Pao. There are a lot of more examples from within China which are shown in the styles of dress, which could be Mongolian, Tibetian, or even Taiwanese.

The color of the wedding dress is especially significant. Most Chinese women wear red wedding dresses , because red signifies happiness.  Traditionally, brides do not wear white, because white signifies death in China.  However, lately, Chinese brides have started to accept Western traditions, and are wearing more white.

At a traditional Chinese wedding, men usually wear gray or black, which is fine for them even though this would be a symbol of grief for the bride. Grooms may also have clothing colored specific to their station, much like Western wedding ceremonies.

Many Chinese wedding dresses have golden embroidery decorations, and it's important to note that only special tailors can do this. Because of that, a highly skilled tailor is usually called in; therefore it's mostly wealthy Chinese families who have golden embroidery on the wedding dress.

It is believed that the modern Chinese wedding dress tradition comes from the ancient Qing Dynasty which was actually the last ruling dynasty in China. Ruling from 1644 to 1912, the dynasty was established by the Manchu clan, still in existence today in northeastern China.

It is totally amazing to learn of the past and find the things that influence who we have become. Every culture has its own traditions and history, and if you look closely at your own culture, you may discover that it's not very different than it was a few hundred years ago.

This article was published on Saturday 18 July, 2009.
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