Whats A Good Gift For An 80 Year Old Man Why We Wear New Clothes on Easter – A History of the Tradition From a Fashion School Perspective

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Why We Wear New Clothes on Easter – A History of the Tradition From a Fashion School Perspective

Most of us can remember our parents dressing us up in new clothes every Easter so that we could walk around the neighborhood indiscriminately. It was a fun tradition to look forward to (or to avoid, as some fashion-forward kids do), whether we went to church or not. But where did this tradition come from? A look through history reveals that its origins are not what we might expect. And by looking at the event from the fashion school, we see how the change in marketing has changed its importance.

Basics of other cultures. Although we associate wearing new clothes in spring with the Easter holiday, this tradition started a long time ago. Pagan worshipers celebrated the equinox with a festival honoring Ostera, the Germanic goddess of Spring, and believed that wearing new clothes brought good luck. The Iranian new year, which is celebrated on the first day of Spring, is marked by ancient Islamic traditions before it begins. These rituals include spring cleaning and wearing new clothes to show renewal and hope. Similarly, Chinese people celebrate their spring festival, also known as the Lunar New Year, by wearing new clothes. It did not represent a new beginning, nor the idea that people have more than they need.

The beginning of Christianity. In the early days of Christianity, newly baptized Christians wore white Easter robes to signify rebirth and new life. But it wasn’t until 300 AD that wearing new clothes became official law, when the Roman emperor Constantine declared that his court should wear their best clothes for Easter. Eventually, the tradition came to mark the end of Lent, when after wearing the same clothes for the same gods, worshipers shed their old clothes for new ones.

Beliefs. A 15th century proverb written in the book Poor Robin’s Almanack said that if one’s clothes on Easter were not new, one could face a disaster: “On Easter your clothes should be new; In the 1500s during the Tudor period, people believed that if a person did not wear new clothes at Easter, moths would eat the old ones, and evil crows would nest around their houses.

After the Civil War. Easter traditions as we know them were not celebrated in America until after the Civil War. Before that time, Puritans and Protestant churches did not see religious celebrations as having no purpose. However, after the devastation of war, churches saw Easter as a source of hope for America. Easter was called “Happy Sunday,” and women exchanged the dark colors of mourning for the cheerful colors of spring.

Easter Easter. In the 1870s, the tradition of the New York Easter Parade began, in which women dressed in their newest and most luxurious clothes walked between the beautiful gothic churches on Fifth Avenue. The parade became one of the leading fashion events, the precursor to New York Fashion Week, if you will. It was popular throughout the country, and people from the poor or middle class watched the parade to see how things had changed in fashion. Soon, clothing retailers took advantage of the show’s popularity and used Easter as a marketing tool to sell their clothing. By the turn of the century, the holiday was as important to retailers as Christmas is today.

The American Dream. By the mid-1900s, Easter dressing had lost any religious significance it might have had, and instead symbolized American prosperity. A look at the sale of old clothes in the fashion school library shows that wearing new clothes on Easter was a good thing, the whole American family was expected to do.

Today’s look. Although many of us still wear new clothes on Easter, this event is not considered special, not because of any religious disagreement, but because we buy and wear new clothes all the time. At one time in this country, middle class families only shopped once or twice a year at a local store or catalog. But in the last few decades, sales methods have increased. There’s a Gap on every corner, and many online retailers let us shop 24/7. It is no wonder that young people today hear Irving Berlin’s song “Easter Parade” and have no idea what it means.

It is interesting to see where the tradition of wearing new clothes for Easter began, and how it has changed over the years. Although times change, the tradition will continue in a certain way. After all, fashionistas love shopping.

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