Seeing Red in China

I’ve been thinking about doing some color-themed posts for a while now and figure there is absolutely no other choice but to start with red as it is by far, the most dominant color in China.

Red is associated with happiness and good fortune and is symbolic of fire and power to ward off evil spirits (who never, by the way, wear red)  The vibrance of red represents beauty and life and no one exploits its promise more than the Chinese, who adorn everything with its fire on every possible occasion.

A red envelope (hangbao – 红包) is a monetary gift given in during holidays or special occasions. The red color of the packet symbolizes good luck. Red is strictly forbidden at funerals as it is  traditionally a symbolic color of happiness. Houses are often adorned with something red, such as paper-cuts and red couplets around doors during Spring Festival or weddings. At a traditional Chinese wedding, the bride will always wear red.

The Communist Party has of course embraced red as well… the color is everywhere, most often combined with golds and yellows. Red represents the pulse of China; a blaze of passion, glory and hope. Here are just a few of my favorite images from Red China…

Hong Kong





Fuli Town




Hong Kong






I’ll probably do a Seeing Red – Part II piece at some point because there are that many red images in my portfolio.

I’ll be on the road for a few days this week, a quick jaunt down to Hong Kong for a couple of meetings which I hope will also allow me some time to shoot in the city. I love that town for the photography but man, it is an expensive place to hang for any length of time!

Speaking of Hong Kong, recently featured some street shots I made during a short three hour layover in Sheung Wen last summer. You can see the feature by following this link. The text is all in Chinese but I think the photos translate pretty well. You can find a link back to my original English post there too. Not my best work to be honest but again, I was only there for about three hours and was a little worried about missing my boat! I never seem to manage enough time to really do what I want camera-wise in Hong Kong but a little of Hong Kong is certainly better than nothing.

Oh, and much thanks to Tom over at the excellent Seeing Red in China blog. Tom graciously allowed me to abscond with his blog title for this post. He does a really nice job of sharing his views on The Middle Kingdom and the experience of living and working in China.

Okay, I must go get ready for the football. That’s soccer for you folks back home. Yes I have, out of necessity, become a soccer fan during my years in China. That will be hard for many of my friends back home to believe but after a while I realized it was for the most part gonna’ be soccer or nothing. I chose soccer and the European Championships are taking place this month. The games come on at 2:45 AM China time. There are some advantages to being your own boss. Before anyone says it, yes I do have a huge problem with all the “end of the world” injuries. These guys flop over things that the average American Little Leaguer would brush off without a second thought.

Finally, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

4 Responses to “Seeing Red in China”

  1. Woods says:

    Nice set. The picture from Kunming is my favorite! I just looked for it on your Flickr and realized I already faved it when you originally posted it! 😉
    — Woods

  2. Jay says:

    Great photos, as always!! You remain one of my fav photographers in China. Hell of a good job you are doing in promoting this place you and I call Home.

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