Chinese Wedding Dress
Traditional Chinese weddings have many unique cultural elements concerning etiquette, wedding supplies and the wedding dress, among others. Traditional Chinese wedding dresses are different from the typical white dress found in western countries as the main colour is red. The colour red symbolises love, joy, luck and prosperity and is considered to be able to drive out evil spirits. Traditional Chinese wedding dresses for brides consist of three main parts; the phoenix coronet (Feng Guan), the Cheongsam (Xia Pei) and the red veil (Hong Gai Tou), while the groom often wears a long gown.
The phoenix coronet is decorated with bead flowers, kingfisher feathers, pearls, gems as well as dragons and phoenixes made of gold wire. In early times, the phoenix coronet was exclusively used by queens and princesses and then gradually developed into part of the traditional Chinese wedding dress worn by most females since the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The cheongsam is the name of the typical Chinese wedding dress made of silk with the main color of it being red. Traditionally it is decorated with elaborate images of phoenixes, peony, or other patterns, embroidered with gold and silver thread. The phoenix is the most common image on Chinese wedding dresses for brides as it is considered as the "King of Birds" and is believed to bring happiness and luck, while it also symbolises the beauty and dignity of a female. The peony is also frequently used on Chinese wedding dresses for its representation of grace, wealth and beauty.
The red veil is a crucial part of the Chinese wedding dress. In ancient times, the bride's appearance was not allowed to be seen by guests of the wedding and in some cases, even the groom wouldn't have seen the bride's face before. The red veil is a silk handkerchief that covers the bride's face during the wedding and the groom would finally see the bride's face later that night when the groom uncovers the red veil.
The groom usually wears a long red or black gown made of silk with an embroidered dragon. The dragon symbolises power, nobleness and dignity. In ancient times, it was only the emperor who could use the image of dragon but after this tradition had passed the dragon became widely used by common people. Also, the groom's ensemble includes a form of headgear, which is usually a black hat decorated with red tassels, or a red hat with two side wings. This type of hat was first used when it was awarded to the best scholar in ancient China.