Umbrellas have a very long history in China. They were first made from silk and used to shade people from the sun. Then, supposedly, China was the first to waterproof their umbrellas by oiling the paper they were made of. Today in China, umbrellas are commonly used for protection from the sun and the rain. I see them more here than I ever did in the USA, but, I think that may be because people are outside more on a regular basis despite the weather. Women don’t like to get suntans, they think white skin is more beautiful, so parasols are very common in summer, and you can buy some beautiful ones! Parts of China still make silk and paper umbrellas, but, for daily use, they are made from plastic or nylon etc. An important thing to remember in China is to never give a Chinese friend an umbrella as a gift. The word for umbrella, san (pronounced “sahn”), sounds like the word for “breaking up” or “parting company,” so, if you want to keep your friend, choose a different gift! Even if it is raining and your friend has no umbrella, it is better to offer to share yours with them than to give it to them to use. These pictures were taken in the past few weeks around where we live.