Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Only in China: A Real Fashion Show for Real Crabs

By Asia Pop Culture

The fashion show we are talking about is nothing like the ones you see in Paris, London, or New York. Nevertheless, this is the only fashion show in the world (I believe) where the the actual models strutting their stuff on the runway are all Chinese Mitten Crabs (大閘蟹).

Mitten Crab is medium-sized and got the name for its furry claws, which resemble mittens. It is native to rivers and coastal habitats of eastern Asia from Korea to the Fujian province (福建省) of China in the south. In Europe and North America, Mitten Crab is considered an invasive species.

Ok, enough about the crab, let's move on to the fashion show.

The fashion show is held at the Hongze Lake Harvest Festival. As Weird Asia News reported, The fashion show with crabs as models has been a part of the city of Huai’an (淮安市) annual traditions for at least 70 years. The city is in Eastern China’s Jiangsu province (江蘇省).  Although the number of crabs declined in recent years, the people around the lake still harvest nearly 6,000 tons of crab each year.

This unique tradition started out like this -- Years ago, local government officials decided the fashion show was a good way to bring interested buyers (and money) to the area. Today, the purchasing process is very different and conducted by by large, international seafood companies; nevertheless, the tradition continues partly reflecting the traditional strong sense of community particularly in more rural areas of China.

All participants, usually around 150 people, must dress up their crabs. Some choose traditional outfits such as traditional Chinese wedding gowns. Other participants opt to deck out their crabs with bling bling ribbons and sequins or wearing matching outfits as their crabs.

There is a separate category to judge hand-painted crabs. The reigning champion is a Mitten Crab painted bright green with colorful pink flowers.

Modern technology has made its impact as well.  Now a remote-controlled drone now flies contestants to the runway.

There is a sadness to the story....    Supposedly, the participating model crabs will get to live another year as the locals believe it is bad luck to eat a model the year it participates.  Regardless how human beings evolve, The Law of Nature does not change...

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