What Makes The Chinese Culture Tick? We Take A Closer Look


With a history dating back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China has a culture as vivid as it is fascinating. Rich in strong traditions and rituals ranging from family values to art to festivals, many ancient Chinese cultural traditions are still around today.

Here are a few of the most popular ones, some of which you may find familiar!

1. The Great Wall of China
There is a famous Chinese quote, “Bú dà Cháng chéng fĕi hăo hàn,” which roughly translates to ‘You are not a real man until you have climbed the Great Wall’ (of China). Honoured as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1987, the Great Wall is recognized as one of the greatest wonders of the world. Like a magnificent dragon, it stretches across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus. A testament to remarkable engineering, it is one of China’s most famous symbols.

2. Giant Pandas
Regarded as one of China’s national treasures, the giant panda is universally loved. This peaceful, bamboo-eating member of the bear family also made it to the list of one of the five official mascots for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Its name? Jingjing the Panda.

3. Beijing Opera
Did you know that together with Greek tragicomedy and Indian Sanskrit Opera, Beijing Opera makes up the three oldest dramatic art forms in the world today? A popular form of drama and musical theatre, its history dates as far back as the Tang Dynasty. Till now, their elaborate displays complemented by majestic costumes and splendid facial makeup continue to intrigue and impress.
Image source: http://trynachina.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/beijing-opera/

4. Knotting
Step into a gift shop in China and you will be pleasantly surprised by the array of delicate knots around, usually made out of silk and adorning everything from wall hangings to key chains. They come in a variety of colors such as gold, green, blue or black, though the most common is red, representing good luck and prosperity.
Just as there are colours, there are also varying shapes of Chinese knots, with the most common being butterflies, flowers, birds, dragons and fish.

5. Chinese Papercutting
Another popular art form in Chinese culture is that of papercutting. Known as Jianzhi, it is used in Chinese culture for health, prosperity or decorative purposes. These paper cuttings often feature Chinese characters symbolizing the Chinese zodiac animals and are most commonly cut from red paper.

6. Martial Arts
Although traditional Chinese values encourage benevolence and cooperation, martial arts are among the traditions most associated with Chinese culture. It has been practiced by the Chinese for thousands of years. Aiding the development of the mind and muscles, martial arts in itself balances fierce fighting techniques with mental cultivation. If done correctly, it helps promote health, energy and strength.


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Author: Song Lianyi

The beginner’s course for a fun and effective way to learn Mandarin Chinese. Specially written for people who have never learned a foreign language before.

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