Girl with umbrella (Photo credit: singingintherains)

Girl with umbrella (Photo credit: singingintherains)

I love my umbrella. It’s summer and I could not handle the heat or the heat could not handle me either as I am complaining. I always “umbrella myself” so to speak back in my native land, the Philippines; now here at Tar heels (North Carolina) I got three umbrellas as the heat is scorching and tend to penetrate below the skin. Almost everybody looks at me as if I am some kind of a wacky every time I am with my “payong” as I am the only one doing it. A year ago, I was conscious of using an umbrella since my hubby advised me “American women don’t use umbrella even if it rains”  I asked: What happens when it rains? He replied, ”run”. It was okay at first, but after several days and after seeing the marks of my face; no way (I told my face), this is damaging. I have to insist what is best for me and the best is to use the umbrella no matter what. This resulted my consulting the Wikipedia about the origin of an umbrella.  Some interesting facts about the umbrella which made me believe that I, my attitude, dates back to the king and queen, and I am acting indeed like a princess using the umbrella.

The first umbrellas were for protection from the sun and were possibly inspired from the canopy of a tree, which would offer a cool shade from the heat of the day. The origins of the umbrella are most probably China in 11th century B.C. although ancient sculptures have been found in Nineveh, Persepolis and Thebes (Egypt) depicting the use of umbrellas. There is also evidence of Umbrellas or Parasols being used at the same period in India. The first umbrellas were most probably a converted branch of a tree (for example giant Banana Leaves) or a hat on a stick, which gave rise to the umbrella, as we know it today.”  However, the use of an umbrella is not new. It has been carried through civilizations and would you believe only the wealthy and members of the ruling class used umbrella? From Rome, Greece, France, to Egypt and Middle East, the Royals use it then. But of course, it is not the umbrella that we see today. It is bigger in size or depending on the use.  Imagine Cleopatra carried by slaves with someone holding the umbrella for her. Then it found its way to China.  Almost all umbrellas are made in China now (I am not surprised China made everything from small to big items)

In many parts of the Philippines, the umbrella has many uses: 1. It is  used to ward bad elements, the tip of the umbrella if sharp or pointed are used as protection against theft and robbers; 2.  Or inside public utility vehicle when males push their way intentionally to the breasts of a female passenger umbrella can be used as instrument to parry; 3. Not only from the sun but rain; 4. To prevent getting sunburn; 5. Decoration 6. Cane 7. A non-talking companion and so many other uses.

But now, I used the umbrella for my beauty needs. I told my husband if somebody asks him you why I use an umbrella; the answer would be “She is of royal blood, and  a princess in the Philippines.

author: Dennis Susan

p.e./kf