January 27, 2017 — Tomorrow is the beginning of the Chinese New Year. The holiday is considered the most important of the year’s calendar in China. This year will be the year of the rooster.
The celebrations for the New Year last for days. Most Chinese workers will have the entire week (from the evening of the 27th until February 2nd) off. Officially, the old year will last until February 15.
The holiday is steeped in tradition, color and noise (to ward off evil spirits).
Binge-watching Empresses in the Palace will provide a different taste of Chinese culture. This magnificent 6-part award-winning drama, set in the harem of Emperor YongZheng in 1722, provides a combination of pageantry, history, spectacle, scandal, and a look at the poetry, gowns, court etiquette, and herbal medicine in fashion in imperial quarters.
The story is of the countless royal concubines vying for the attentions of the Emperor. If they gain favor, they gain power. A young girl, 17-year old Zhen Huan is totally unprepared for the sort of treachery and scheming that she will encounter. She must learn how to marshal the forces at her command to fight off the corrupt, jealous and powerful concubines who watch her ascendance in the harem with envy and anger. Her life as a concubine is pampered and glamorous, but it also becomes dangerous and nerve-wracking.
The drama was highly-praised and immensely popular in China, where some people tried to emulate the way of speaking used at the court and young girls were requesting plastic surgery to look like the lead character. More than 39 million viewers tuned in when it was shown in Japan, a country of 127.3 million people.
In Chinese with English subtitles.
Empresses of the Palace is available in a 2 DVD set or you can stream it immediately on Amazon Video.