Chinese Wedding Tradition: The Chinese Red Veil

Along with the well known elements of any wedding, such as the church, the bridal car, the flowers, the wedding music, and wedding gift, the bridal outfit usually consists of the wedding dress, sometimes the train, and the wedding veil. Customarily, white is the most popular color for any wedding apparel, which usually denotes the bride-to-be’s purity and virginity. However, the choice of the color for wedding dresses is not too restricted nowadays, with many of the present brides-to-be preferring more exciting colors such as blue, yellow and even orange for that matter.

But do you know that in a Chinese wedding, a red veil on the head of the bride is a common sight? Tradition requires brides to put a red veil made of a laced silk square to cover their face. The Chinese call this piece of silk as the red head cover.

However, during the old days in China, the head cover was not even in the list of wedding planning. It was not even used during holy matrimony. It has more humble beginnings from the women farmers who used it during the Qi period. The main purpose of the head cover was to protect these women from the harsh wind and scorching sun when farming. It was only secondary for aesthetic purposes. And the head cover also came in different colors, not just red.

It was during the time of the Tang dynasty that the head cover turned into a long veil that reached down the shoulder. In addition, the head cover became a requirement for women attending court. Its purpose also changed. Instead of just protection, the veil became a demonstration of a woman’s virtue, whether married or not.

Later on, the veil became a constant element in any Chinese wedding. The red signifies the Chinese belief that the color symbolizes happiness and prosperity.


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