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Color Red Takes on New Meanings in Modern China

Fri, 11/16/2012 - 10:45am
The Associated Press

In this Nov. 16, 2012 photo, a red luxury car passes a shopping mall in Beijing. The color red has long had special significance in China, symbolizing health, wealth, and good wishes. Its red army and a sea of red flags and banners came to characterize both cities and countryside following the success of the 1949 revolution. However, in the more than three decades since the death of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong and the jettisoning of orthodox Marxism, red has taken on different meanings and contexts, some ancient, some very modern, finding its way into home furnishings, luxury items, clothing, and leisure goods, as well as the restored vestiges of Beijing’s imperial heritage. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)The color red has long had special significance in China, symbolizing health, wealth and good wishes.

Newlyweds and children are presented with gift money tucked inside red packets, brides traditionally wear red gowns at their weddings, and celebratory fireworks always come wrapped in red paper.

That made the color a perfect fit for the Communist movement. Its red army and a sea of red flags and banners came to characterize both cities and countryside following the success of the 1949 revolution.

However, in the more than three decades since the death of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong and the jettisoning of orthodox Marxism, red has taken on different meanings and contexts, some ancient, some very modern, finding its way into home furnishings, luxury items, clothing, and leisure goods, as well as the restored vestiges of Beijing's imperial heritage.


 

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