Chinese Traditions

Money God on Red Envelope used for giving money to children at Chinese New Year

Living in China, you soon learn that Chinese traditions play an integral role in everyday life for every person. It is at the very core of Chinese culture and revolves around values and how people interact with each other, gives a sense of personal identity and sense of self worth. These traditional values help people solve common human problems for survival and become the roots of tradition that Chinese people find important in their day-to-day lives.

Values for one society may seem strange to another society, but nonetheless, they are important to that society. For instance, the painful and debilitating Chinese tradition of foot binding, as bizarre as it may seem to our culture, to the Chinese people, it was the esoteric essence of pure beauty and signified status within the family structure, allowing young women with lotus feet better opportunities for marriage with well-to-do families.

Traditional Chinese courtyard life, in existence until the early 1900’s, was a unique lifestyle where Chinese families and neighbours lived in very close quarters – sharing a common courtyard and everyone knowing everyone else’s business. Special rules applied for who occupied which space in certain directions. Read more about it by clicking the link above.

Chinese Chopsticks, born of necessity in the earliest times, highly influenced the eating and cooking traditions still followed today in China. Click on the link above to learn more about the history of Chinese chopsticks.

Chinese knot

Have you ever seen those beautiful tied Chinese knots? Did you know that each different design is a good luck wish? One of the most popular knots is double happiness, which in Chinese tradition is given to newlyweds, signifying a wish for their luck and happiness to double.

Xing, Shi and Ming are the most common Chinese family names. There are only 22 ancient Chinese surnames still in use today. The family name indicated a blood tie within the Chinese social structure and was a symbol of class. In ancient China, 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, women were the clan leaders and marriages were only allowed among certain classes.

There are many colorful Chinese Festivals happening all year round. There are some major ones that span out over several days or several weeks that are celebrated all across China, and then there are the ones celebrated in different regions of China by the 53 different minority groups. Chinese Festivals offer a unique insight into the rich 5000 year history and traditions of China. If you are living in China, the Chinese people will graciously invite you to be part of their traditional celebrations. Click the link above to check out some interesting celebrations like Qing Ming - graveyard cleaning and picnic time, the Water Splashing Festival in Yunnan, Chinese Valentine's Day, Dragon Boat Festival and more.

leather cut shadow puppets

Beijing Opera is a uniquely Chinese form of theatre that relates stories of romance, legend and battles. There used to be troupes that travelled China to put on the shows, but today, the best place to enjoy it is in Beijing. Chinese Shadow Puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling which was popular during the Song Dynasty during the holiday season. The stories of the shadow puppets told of events that had happened elsewhere in the country and stories with a Buddhist background.

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