Perhaps I was born as the kind of person to save the Chinese umbrella industry. It is embarrassing to admit that I lost at least one umbrella every year. Today I almost lost my umbrella for 2 times. 

Thanks god that these umbrellas are so cheap. Otherwise I will need to find one with GPS.

The history of Chinese Umbrellas

As early as 3500 years ago, umbrella had emerged in China. Regarding the invention of umbrella, there are many folk legends, among which the most widely spread one is the story about Luban inventing umbrella. According to the story, umbrella was invented by Luban’s wife out of care and concern about her hardworking husband. As the folklore tells, daily meals delivered by Luban’s Wife Yun were often spoilt by downpours. So Luban built pavilions along the road. Later on, as inspired by children using lotus leaves for rain shelter, he invented the first umbrella by making a flexible framework covered by a cloth.

In ancient China, the umbrella was not only a day-to-day appliance, but also with sociological significance. In late Wei Dynasty, umbrella was used in official ceremonies and rites and was called the Luo Umbrella. It is the symbol of rank and status as the official robe. For example, officials of the Han Dynasty above the third rank used Green Umbrella and emperors in Song dynasty used yellow and red umbrellas while the common people would carry blue ones. Therefore, umbrellas were used in the inspection tours of emperors or senior officials in ancient times to show protection over the people. As umbrella indicates wealth and honor, it is often used in wedding ceremonies in China. Umbrella is often used in opera, song and dance, and acrobatics art as well.

Shanghai taboo – umbrella gift

Since I lost my umbrella so often, I always wanted to have someone gift me an umbrella. However, this probably will never happen. In Chinese, the word umbrella sounds very similar to separation, so the gift of an umbrella symbolizes a desire to end a relationship.