China is one of the oldest and complex civilizations in the world. Having a history of over 5,000 years and covering a large geographical region, China is filled with traditions and customs varying greatly between towns and provinces. Therefore “Chinese culture” is a very broad term describing the cultural foundations of China.
Family and Customs
According to the Chinese legislation a man can legally marry at 22 and a woman at 20. They need to acquire a marriage license and no other ceremonies are needed. The sole role of the ceremony is for the newlyweds to be congratulated by the relatives.
Birthdays aren’t commonly celebrated in China but in the big cities youngsters celebrate the birthdays more often than other categories. People like to eat “longevity noodles” on their birthday but otherwise there aren’t any special celebrations.
Funeral ceremonies are also very simple. In the cities, the deceased are cremated while in the rural areas interment is generally chosen.
China is a known as a state of etiquette. Shaking hands is commonly used nowadays while bowing is used to express the respect for the higher level. Junior is always introduced to the senior.
If you are invited to a family party, you can give gifts such as wine, cigarettes and candy. Flowers, pastries and fruits are also “safe” gifts to give.
The main religions in China include: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism. According to the legislations, the Chinese citizens are allowed to choose and practice their beliefs.
Buddhism is the oldest religion in China and there are over 13,000 Buddhist temples in the country.
Taoism is native to China and has a history of over 1,700 years. There are over 1,500 Taoist temples in the country.
Catholicism is a rather new “addition” to the Chinese blend of religions. It was introduced in the country in 1840 after the Opium War. Currently there are over 4 million Catholics in the country.
The traditional Chinese cuisine originated from various regions in China and nowadays is widespread all over the world. The regional differences influence the cuisine as well and there are 8 main regional Chinese cuisines: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang. The “standard” ones are considered: Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong, and Huaiyang cuisine.
The Chinese dishes are prepared in bite-sized pieces as the Chinese consider the use of knife and fork at the table as barbaric as those are regarded as weapons. Fish, chicken, pork, beef are all part of the Chinese cuisine. Vegetarian meals aren’t uncommon but only a part of the population practice being vegetarians. All meals are eaten with chopsticks.