China is a large tourist country with profound culture. When visiting China, exploring Chinese culture is what you can not miss. Chinese culture page offers the most glorious essence of Chinese culture, such as Chinese cuisine,Chinese table manners, Chinese zodiac signs, Chinese tea culture, Kongfu, Beijing opera and the likes. Read the classic Chinese culture and discover the essence of China.
With a history of more than 200 years, Beijing opera, the essence of Chinese culture, is a perfect combination of music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics, which is highly favored by people domestic and abroad. Beijing opera is originated in Beijing around 1840 and prospered in 1930, which is prevailed among Beijng, Hebei province and Tianjin city. Now, Beijing opera has become one of the largest influential opera form in the world. Characterized by its rich characters, sophisticated performing skills and overwhelming momentum, Beijing opera has become an representative of Chinese opera.
Beijing opera is derived from four local operas, Hui opera in Anhui, Han opera in Hubei, Kun opera in Jiangsu and Qinqiang opera in Shaanxi, which drawn the merits of these local operas and created in its own style. Beijing opera is of Banqing style, which applies Gong, drum, Erhu, Huqin and Yueqin to accompany.
Speech, song, dance, and combat are the four classic performing arts in Beijing opera, which is also the basic skills for performers and is usually trained since the performers are very young. There are many roles in Beijing opera, mainly Sheng, Dan, Jing, and Chou, each of which has its own costume and mask-paintings. Masks with different colors have different meaning, which is used to portray the character of the roles and illustrate their emotional state.
No China trip is complete without watching the classic Beijing opera! Enjoy the fantastic Beijing opera and discover the essence of Chinese culture!
Chinese Kong Fu, also known as Wushu, is a traditional sports item originated in ancient China, which is a perfect combination of exercise, practical self-defense, self-discipline and has become a great component of Chinese culture.
Chinese Kong Fu is featured with its dynamic and fluid motions. It is usually practiced with bare hands, while sometimes with some simple weapons like the cudgel. As a characterized form of sport, Chinese Kong Fu still has the feature of attack and self-defence, which is vividly shown during the course of fighting.
Chinese martial art is originated from the producing activity in ancient times. During the hunting process, such primitive self-defending skills as splitting, chopping, and stabbing are mastered, which become foundation of Chinese Kong Fu. Chinese Kong Fu is sprouted in primitive society, formed in slave society developed in federal society and prospered in North Song dynasty. In Ming and Qing dynasties, many sects of Chinese Kong Fu were created and thrived, probably the most-known are Taichi, Xingyi Quan and Baguan Quan. Since the foundation of People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Kong Fu has been flourishing.
Shaolin Kung Fu is symbol of Chinese Kung Fu, which is world-renowned for its time-honored history and sophisticated skills. Shaolin Kung Fu is originated in Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng city in Hepan province, where loft peak, verdant trees, crisp fresh air and tranquil atmosphere are all available, making itself a perfect place to practice Kung Fu wholeheartedly.
Taichi, another style of Chinese martial art, is world-known for its long history and classic performing skills, which has become an popular fitness activity in the nation-wide with the features of defense-training and health-benefiting. In a China tour, you could see many people, particularly the old, are practicing Taichi in the open area in the morning, which would be a great feast to your eyes.
Bruce Lee, a famous Chinese-American martial artist and actor, has made great contribution to the development of Chinese Kong Fu. Since the publishing of his films about martial arts, Chinese Kong Fu becomes world-known and is favored by people domestic and abroad.
As is known, China is a great country with a time-honored history and profound culture. While mentioning Chinese culture, Chinese tea culture can not be missed. Chinese tea culture is the culture of making tea and drinking tea in China, which is different from that of Europe, Britain, and Japan. China is home to many different kinds of tea, from Green tea, Oolong tea, Black Tea, scented tea, to white tea and yellow tea, each of which has its own color, scent, and effect.
In China, drinking tea is usually referred as tasting tea, which not only means distinguishing the quality of tea, but also enjoying the delight of falling into the reverie about life while drinking tea. A short retreat from busy life, make a cup of tea and taste it in a tranquil place on your own, not only relieving tiredness but also refreshing your soul heartily. Generally, the best place for tasting tea should be the place where tranquil atmosphere and crisp fresh air are available. Gardens in China are world-renowned, where breathtaking scenery and peaceful atmosphere are available. Tasting tea in such gardens never fails to be a fantastic experience.
China is a country with a time-honored civilization, which is quite particular about ceremony and etiquette. When guests pay a visit, etiquette of making tea for guests is essentially required. When making tea, proper blending of tea leaves is quite necessary, so that favorable flavor would be created. When drinking tea with guests, pay attentions to the tea remained in the cup of guests and it should be replenished when the cup is half-full. If accompanied with tea dessert, candies and dishes, drinking tea would be more tasteful and joyful.
Chinese zodiac signs, also known as Shengxiao in Chinese, is a scheme, which uses Twelve Earthly Branches and 12 animals to symbolize the year when a person is born. The cycle of the Chinese zodiac signs is every 12 years. Zodiac is prevalent among many countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa and so on.
The zodiac traditionally begins with the sign of the Rat. The twelve zodiac signs are Rat, Ox，Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snack, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Chicken, Rooster, Dog And Pig, each of which has its matching earth branch and character. In Chinese astrology, the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself.
Besides presenting oneself, the zodiac signs also have another function, that is, deducing a person’s age from the sign of the person. Know the current sign of the year and then a person’s perceived age would be deduced. For example, if it is the year of ox in 2011, then persons of ox is either 12, 24, 36 or 48 years old in 2011, while persons of rabbit zodiac are two years younger than those Oxen accordingly in 2011.
Chinese Zodiac years of birth are also called Chinese Zodiac animal years, better known as Ben Ming Nian in Chinese, in which people usually wear something red like to avoid bad luck during this year, such as socks, a ribbon, clothes, underwear, a waistband or a bracelet and the likes.
Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, hardworking, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, mendacious, venal, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming.
Dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, moody.
Gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate,lucky, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.
Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, jealous, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.
Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. Can be loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, cold.
Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile—mentally and physically, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn.
Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, determined, peaceful, generous, seeks security. Can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed.
Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. Can be egotistical, vain, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious.
Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, opinionated, given to empty bravado.
Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome.
Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent.
Can be naïve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic.
Table manner is an important component of Chinese culture, which could be summarized in the following aspects, from inviting guests, seating, eating, using chopsticks and teapot.
When the guest enters the room, the hosts stand until the guest sit down. Dishes are usually ordered by host and guest should keep silent. Before dinning, a toast started from the host is usually held, where guests could express their thanks for the invitation. When the dishes arrive, the host would invite guests of honor to taste first.
In China, a round table is commonly used. On this occasion, the seat facing the entrance is the seat of honor, which should be seated by the people with the highest status. The seats on the left-hand-side of the seat-of-honor are second, fourth, sixth, etc. in importance, while those on the right are third, fifth, seventh and so on in importance until they join together.
Food is mostly served by chopsticks and hand is seldom used unless some exceptions. While eating and drinking soup, no noise should be made. While dinning, the host should take care of all his guests and invites guests to enjoy the dishes. While someone is picking up food from dishes with chopsticks, the lazy Susan should never be turned.
Chopstick is mostly used in Chinese dinning, while there are some protocols of using chopsticks. Chopsticks are not used to toy with one’s food or with dishes in common and they should be placed neatly after used. It is impolite to point someone with chopsticks. Never search food in the common dishes with chopsticks. You should never bang your chopsticks as though you were playing the drum.
Since Chinese tea culture has time-honored history, while using teapot also has its own etiquette. The teapot should never be placed pointing someone directly, which is quite impolite. If you are getting tea for yourself, make sure to ask others whether they need tea or not first. If they do, get tea for others first before serving yourself.
With the history of more than 5000 years, China boasts profound culture and cuisine is an important aspect of Chinese culture. Chinese cuisine is characterized by its special seasoning, featured cooking methods, diversified cooking material, and distinctive flavor, which makes it highly-favorable among gourmet domestic and abroad. Chinese cuisine has a number of different styles, which makes the Eight Culinary Traditions of China, Guangdong (Cantonese) cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine and Sichuan cuisine, Fujian cuisine, Hunan cuisine, Anhui cuisine and Zhejiang cuisine, while perhaps the first four are the best known and most influential. Cuisines of different styles have their own features, both in cooking methods and seasonings.
Sichuan cuisine is a style of Chinese cuisine originated in the Sichuan Province of southwestern China. Sichuan cuisine is prepared with garlic and chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorn, zhitianjiao, peanuts, sesame paste, and ginger, which offers it bold flavors, particularly pungent and spicy. Sichuan cuisine is highly favored by people home and abroad due to the hotness, sourness, and numbness it produces. The most famous dish of Sichuan cuisine is Hotpot.
Anhui cuisine, one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China, is derived from the native cooking styles of the Huangshan Mountain region in China, which is similar to Jiangsu cuisine. Anhui cuisine emphasizes less on seafood but more on a wide variety of local herbs and vegetables. Due to its unbeatable geographical advantage, Anhui province is particularly endowed with fresh bamboo and mushroom crops, which makes the main raw material in the dishes.
Shandong Cuisine, commonly known as Lu cuisine, plays an important role in imperial cuisine and is widely spread in North China, while it isn’t so popular in South China. Shandong Cuisine is characterized by a variety of cooking techniques. For tasting Shandong cuisine, these must-haves like braised abalone, braised trepang, sweet and sour carp, Jiuzhuan Dachang and Dezhou Chicken should never be missed!
Fujian cuisine, also known as Min Cuisine, is one of the most famous Eight Cuisines in China. For the cooking techniques, slicing is the mostly utilized to enhance the flavor, aroma, and texture of seafood and other foods. For the cooking materials, edible mushrooms and bamboo shoots are particularly utilized to prepare the woodland delicacies. Fujian cuisine is often served in a broth or soup, which is prepared in the cooking techniques of braising, stewing, steaming and boiling.
Jiangsu cuisine, also known as Su Cuisine, is one of the major components of Chinese cuisine, which consists of the styles of Yangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Zhenjiang dishes. Jiangsu cuisine is characterized by its distinctive style, special taste and featured cooking techniques, which makes it quite popular among the worldwide gourmets. For tasting the authentic Jiangsu cuisine, dishes like Jinling salted dried duck, crystal meat, clear crab shell meatballs, Yangzhou steamed Jerky strips and triple combo duck are all what you can not miss!
Cantonese Cuisine, also known as Yue cuisine, is another major component for Chinese eight cuisines, which enjoys a long history and a good reputation both home and abroad. The most typical Cantonese dish is the dim sum, bite-sized small hearty dish, which is prepared with the cooking methods of frying, steaming, stewing and baking. Other Cantonese dishes like rice rolls, lotus leaf rice, turnip cakes, buns, shui jiao-style dumplings, stir-fried green vegetables, congee porridge, and soups are also quite popular among gourmets.
Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine, is featured with hot spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep color, which makes itself quite favorable among gourmets. Xiang cuisine is commonly prepared with traditional cooking methods like stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising, and smoking. Due to the unbeatable geographical advantages, Hunan is blessed with diversified agricultural resources, which makes the ingredients for the dishes varied.
Zhejiang cuisine, commonly known as Zhe cuisine, is of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China, which is characterized by its non-greasy taste, soft flavor, and mellow fragrance. Zhejiang cuisine is mainly composed of four styles, namely Hangzhou style, Shaoxing style, Ningbo style, and Shanghai style, each of which has its own ingredients. Hangzhou style is rich in bamboo shoots, Shaoxing style, freshwater fish, Ningbo style, seafood, and Shanghai style, dim sum.
With a time-honored history of more than 5000 years, China enjoys many traditional festivals, all of which are the great reflection of profound Chinese culture. Chinese Festival page introduces the most important traditional festivals in China, ranging from Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Tom-sweeping Day to Dragon Festival and Mid-autumn Day. Each festival has its own significance, feature and celebration forms. After discovering them, you will get more ideas about Chinese culture.
Spring Festival is one of the most important and ceremonious festivals in China, which is from the first day to the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar. Spring Festival to China, what Christmas to America. About one month ahead of the spring festival, people will get preparation for it, such as cleaning house, do shopping and making storable food. For celebrating the festival, people will hang couplets and red lanterns onto the doors, and play firecrackers delightfully, and everywhere is permeated with holiday atmosphere.
Another important thing for the Spring Festival is family reunion and people working far away from home will get back home for family reunion. On the family union dinner, people will usually enjoy the appetizing family reunion dinner together. On the family reunion dinner, the young express best wishes and toast for the elder’s health and happiness. On the family reunion dinner, children will get the lucky money from the elder after saying “Happy New Year” to the elder.
On the first day of the festival, children will dress their new clothes and pay a new year’s visit to their relatives, then they will give them new year’s money. In the following days, people will pay a new year’s visit to relatives and friends, and express their good wishes to the next year to each other. The last day, on the 15th day of the festival, would be the world-famous Lantern Festival.
Since Spring Festival is a traditional Chinese festival, there is still some taboos about it. During Spring Festival, unlucky behaviors and words should be avoided because those bad things may happen if these words are spoken out. Such words as bad, dead, kill, ache and the likes are not welcome. Moreover, water should not be sprinkled out of the house, which may bring bad luck to the new year. Also when holding the fragile articles like plates, cups, and glasses, the one should be particularly careful and never break them. What is more, neither sweeping the floor nor cutting hair is welcome at the spring festival. While different regions have different taboos on the Spring Festival.
Mid-autumn day, anther traditional festival in China, is celebrated on August 15th in lunar calendar every year. On the mid-autumn day, the full moon will appear, which symbolizes reunion in Chinese cultures, so the mid-autumn day is also called Reunion Festival. Since mid-autumn day is an important festival in China, there are some traditional customs for this festival.
Moon worship is a quite time-honored tradition in China, which could be traced back to Zhou dynasty in ancient Chinese history. This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation. In modern times, people usually display moon cakes as well as other fruits on the table in the yard. After the moon has eaten the moon cakes, they will retreat the table and eat the worshiped moon cakes with family members to pray for health and happiness.
Appreciating the moon is another activity for the mid-autumn day. On the night of mid-autumn day, the moon is particularly round and bright. Families will sit together and appreciate the moon while eating moon cakes. On this night, people far away from home would be quite homesick and they would express best wishes for their family while watching the moon alone.
The delicately-shaped moon cake is a must-have for the Mid-autumn Day, which is made of flour filled with various kinds of fillings like nuts, eggs, beans, and fruits. Since full moon symbolizes family reunion in Chinese reunion, moon cakes are usually round-shaped. That is why eating mooncakes on the mid-autumn day could arouse the missing of distant relatives.
Lantern Festival is another important festival in China, which is celebrated on the 15th of the first month in the lunar calendar every year. Lantern festival marks the end of the Spring Festival. The lantern festival of 2013 falls on February 24. There are some traditional customs and activities for lantern festival, which has been introduced as follows.
On the Lantern Festival, splendid lanterns show would be displayed and lanterns of different shaps could be seen everywhere, which attracts uncountable visitors. Accompanying lanterns, various fireworks would be lighted, which explore and disperse into different shapes in the dark sky successively. Everywhere is permeated with delightful atmosphere on the night of lantern festival.
Guessing lantern riddles is another important recreational activity in the Lantern Festival. Each lantern contains a riddle and people will guess it, which is very interesting. If someone has an answer to a riddle, he can pull the paper from the lantern and ask the organizers to verify the answer. If the answer is right, then little gifts would be presented. Since this intellectual activity is very exciting and interesting, guessing riddles on the lantern festival is quite popular among many people, old and young, man and women.
Another important activity for the festival is the exciting folk dances, such as Lion Dance and Walking on the Stilts. In the lion dance, two dancers, on for the lion’s head, the other for the loin’s tail, are dressed up like big lions. The dancers take coordinated and rhythmic steps and perform the music of loud gongs and drums. Sometimes, it jumps, sometimes it roars. Another representative folk dance during the lantern festival is walking on the stilts. The performers’ feet are bent onto the stilts and they walk on stilts. Dressed up gorgeously, the performers impersonate different animals, such as monks, clowns, fishermen and the likes, which appeals many visitors.
As for food, people usually eat ball-shaped sweet dumplings in this festival, also called Yuanxiao in Chinese, which is made of glutinous rice flour filled diversified fillings. So the Lantern Festival is also called Yuanxiao Festival.
Dragon Boat Festival, another traditional festival in China, falls on the May 5th in the lunar calendar every year, which is celebrated to commemorate an ancient patriotic poet named Qu Yuan. Customs on this festival are listed as follows:
On the Dragon Boat Festival, people will eat the triangle-shaped rice dumplings, zong zi literally in Chinese, which is made of glutinous rice filled with different kinds of fillings like dates, nuts, and beans. Many families made rice dumplings at home by themselves. After the rice with fillings is prepared, people will wrap the rice with reed leaves into triangle-shape and then boil it for 20 minutes.
Another important activity on this festival is holding Dragon Boat race in honor of the great poem Qu Yuan. On the dragon boat racing, a competition would be held between the two teams. The one who reach the final destination first is the winner. It was said that the winning team would bring harvest and happiness to the people of their villages.Generally, a team member stands in front of the boat and beats the drum to keep the delightful spirit of other members. In the competition, team work spirit is essentially needed.
What is more, people will hang a special wormwood named Ai on the front door to drive out evil spirits. Moreover, women will make handicrafts with different ships and fill them with special fragrant ingredients. After finished, they will hang the delicate handicraft to the kids’ necks to pray for their healthy and happiness.
The Chinese Valentines’ Day, also known as Double Seventh Festival, is another traditional festival in China, which is celebrated on July 7th in the lunar calendar every year and is particularly popular among young valentines.
About the origin of this festival, there comes a legend. It was told that there was a poor cow boy, who felt in love with a weaving girl, 7th daughter of Emperor of Heaven. They lived a happy life and had two babies. When the Emperor of Heaven heard this, she got angry and take the weaving girl back to heaven, while the cowboy held the hands of the weaving girl tightly. Seeing this, the Emperor of Heaven drew the silver river with her hairpin between them and they were separated eventually. The weaving girl was forced to move to the star Vega and the cowboy moved to the star Altair. They are allowed to meet only once a year on the day of 7th day of July lunar month.
It was legendarily told that on the Double Seventh Day, people could see the weaving girl and cowboy’s dating on the Silver River. If you hide yourself under the fruit trellis, you might overhear the honey conversations between cowboy and weaving girl on this night.
On the Chinese Valentine’s Day, people in love usually go to the Matchmaker’s Temple to pray for their love and possible marriage. People still single will do the same thing to ask for good luck of love in the Matchmaker’s temple. On this romantic night, girls usually set tables with fruits displayed to pray for intelligence and sweet love.
Tomb-sweeping Day, also known as pure brightness day, is one of the most important traditional festivals in China, which usually falls onto 4th, 5th or 6th of April. On the tomb-sweeping day, people will visit their ancestors’ graves and mourn for the dead, burning incense, offering food and paper coins. They will also clean the grave area, such as getting rid of weeds growing around the tomb and removing dust on the tomb-grave. After that, some flowers would also be presented. People usually refresh earth, sacrifice and show flow to their ancestor’s on this special day.
During the days around Qingming, everything is recovered and refreshed, so many outdoor activities like traveling around, flying kites and planting trees are favored by many people.