Hong Kong Pop Singer Karen Mok 莫文蔚 on her wedding day with her Kwa
The Evolution of Qun Gua 群褂 Throughout the Last Century
Throughout the last century, designs of kwas changed a lot. For example, wavy fringes on blouses, called “romantic fringes”, substitute for the flat fringes of former days. Only kwas with long sleeves stretching below the knees were made in the old days. But now kwas tailored with sleeves to fit one’s arm are available. Shoes have changed as well.
Modern brides wear leather, high-heeled shoes. The latest design in bridal shoes contains decorations made in sequins and embroidery.
In addition to costumes and shoes, a traditional bride needed many accessories. In the 19th century, it was common to wear an ornate headdress which was made of silver inlaid with kingfisher features and pearls. Since the 20th century, headdresses have been made of a cloth-covered card with motifs of phoenixes and auspicious Chinese characters like “double happiness”.
Many colourful puffy balls with strands of pearls hang along the front edge of a headdress. The strands of pearls are used to cover the bride’s face for the whole wedding day. It was customary for a groom to help his wife take off her headdress on their wedding night.
Brides wear gold bangles with motifs of dragons and phoenixes carved on them. Jade bangles are also worn as it is believed that they protect a bride from mishaps.
For weddings in rural areas, brides sometimes wear “demon-reflecting mirrors” around their necks to protect themselves against evil. Local rural Chinese couples usually perform Chinese wedding rituals because they want to keep up the Chinese traditions.
It is believed that a bride should wear the whole set of the wedding dress only on wedding day. Wearing the whole set only on the wedding day assures that a woman will not get married more than one time in her life.