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Red Underwear for Chinese New Year

What's with all the Red Underwear?

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Red Underwear for Chinese New Year

Red underwear for sale around Chinese New Year (socks to match).

© 2011 Sara Naumann, licensed to About.com.
If you’ve been inside a department store in China from December to February, you might be wondering what the strange winter fashion surrounding red underwear is. Most prominent in the men’s section, red underwear is one of the most popular gifts for sweethearts to exchange around Chinese New Year.

So, this winter’s fashion it is not. Every winter, red underwear decorated with gold embroidery usually illustrating the pertinent zodiac animal go on sale in China’s stores.

For those turning 12, 24, 36 etc. (the Chinese Zodiac uses a cycle of 12), termed benming nian, or the meeting of one’s zodiac year, traditional Chinese belief is that it can be an unlucky year. To ward off any dangers that might befall you in your benming nian, it helps to wear red. Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese traditions, standing for loyalty, success and happiness.

If you’re really traditional, you should wear red every day, all year long. If you’re not a big fan of the color red in your outer wardrobe, red underwear is an easy way to protect yourself against the hazards of benming nian. Better ask your sweetheart for more than one pair!

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