Gong Xi Fa Cai!
You may have noticed from my pictures on my blog but just in case you didn’t, I’m Chinese! I know; this is quite a shock to some of you! I grew up and lived in China until about 8 years ago when I moved to America. As you may also have noticed, I love color. It’s the first word in my blog and the first thing I look for when I’m putting together my outfits. I think being Chinese and loving color are a natural combination. Our biggest holiday of the year is Chinese New Year. This holiday has traditions going back thousands of years and a lot of them have to do with color. We exchange bright red envelopes filled with lucky money. I remember when I was a child this was the best time of the whole year. I would use whatever coins I got to buy treats that we wouldn’t get the rest of the year. We also have fireworks, lots of them! After all, the Chinese invented them so know a thing or two. Of course these are in all kinds of colors that light up the night sky. Gold is another color that you’ll see all over my home country this time of year.
They often call Chinese New Year the Spring Festival. Although where I grew up in the northeast the spring weather was still pretty far away. If you’re wondering what day it falls on, you’re not alone. Here in America you have it easy! Independence Day is always on July 4th and Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, Labor Day and Memorial Day are always on a Monday for a nice 3 day weekend. But Chinese New Year is determined by the phases of the moon and is always timed with a new moon. So it moves around from mid January to mid February. This year it’s on February 19 and is actually about the latest it can be. We will be welcoming the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese Zodiac cycle.
This week I’m going to be showing you several Chinese traditional and modern outfits to give you a taste of where I come from and what makes me who I am. Today I’m wearing a bright colorful fur lined vest. This fun piece is made of silk with a traditional floral pattern on a soft purple field. Silk is quite common in China and many of the traditional New Year’s clothing feature this soft shiny fabric. Most garments from this part of the world feature a tall collar and cloth covered buttons. These fasten to button loops made of cord instead of the western buttonhole. They can be a bit difficult to fasten but the look is chic and beautiful. We also decorate our homes for this huge holiday and I’m holding a traditional Chinese Knot decoration. Everything in China has a deeper meaning than just being pretty and this knot symbolizes long life and prosperity. I’m all in favor of those! By the way, in case you were wondering, Gong Xi Fa Cai means Wishing You a Wealthy New Year.