Everything You Should Know about Chinese Culture

Culture is something that is defined as beliefs, customs, institutions and other products made by humans. The Chinese culture belongs to one of the oldest and richest cultures in the world.

What’s more, it is also the biggest civilization, which consists of 56 ethnic groups and the most popular group is the Han Chinese.

History

China has been ruled by different Sovereigns and Emperors. Throughout the history, there had been many attempts to classify the society on the basis of socio-economic classes, education, trade and craft.

In fact, the era of the Zhou Dynasty is often looked to as the touchstone of Chinese cultural development. A large part of the Chinese culture is based on divination and the notion that a spiritual world exists.

 

Literature

At first, Chinese literature was influenced by oral traditions of professional and social provenance – cult practices, divination, exorcism, astronomy.

Also important is the Chinese Wenfang, “Four Treasures of the Study”, which considered brush pen, Chinese ink, paper and ink-stone to be the key instruments for writing Chinese characters.

The Chinese Classic texts covered a wide range of subjects including poetry, astrology, astronomy, calendar, or constellations. Even notable confucianists, taoists and scholars have made significant contributions to Chinese culture – from documenting the history to writing concepts that were hundred of years ahead of time.

China also follows an astrological system called Zodiac with 12 signs that can possibly predict you your future or find your compatible partner.

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Chinese literature was heavily influenced by Confucianism.

 

Music of China

Chinese music should express real feelings, suffering or spiritual elevation, therefore, it’s not a surprise that it was at first composed by scholars, who were able to sing and play on instruments.

Today, however, we can divide the traditional Chinese music into two types – folk and classical.

In comparison with the folk music, the classical is more thematic, poetic and philosophical. It’s mostly played solo or on instruments such as Qin, which is a 7-string zither and is very difficult to play without learning from and expert, or Pipa, an instrument very similar to our lute.

qin and pipa chinese intruments
The left one instrument is Qin and the right one is Pipa.

 

Architecture

For the past few hundred years, the Chinese architecture hasn’t changed much. We can say it’s almost the same, but as the time went by, the techniques were improved and perfected.

Traditional Chinese structures are mostly made of wood based on stone foundations, and pay extra attention to the ornaments and the exterior decorations, for instance, stone lions, ornamental columns, beautiful flowers and gardens.

For these reasons, Chinese architecture had a big impact on Korean, Japanese or Vietnamese architectural styles.

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Picture of the Forbidden city also known as The Home of the Emperors.

 

Fashion

The different fashion trends in China was mainly because of the difference between classes.

To give an illustration, the yellow color was mainly reserved for the Emperor. For decorative purposes were used symbols like dragon, that represents power and excellence and also overcomes obstacles without any hassle. 

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This is an example of traditional Chinese clothing for wedding.

 

Food

Food played an important role in the history. Chinese cuisine is very rich on various dishes such as noodles, soups and light meals.

What’s more, most of the traditional Chinese food spread across the world and is now very popular in almost every country. You will hardly find a country without a single Chinese restaurant. 

traditional-chinese-dish-noodles
Simple but delicious Chinese noodles with chicken.

 

Family

Chinese culture was traditionally patriarchal. In the past, usually the Fathers used to influence and take decisions on behalf of the children even in cases like their career and marriage.

A lot has changed within the Chinese culture but the Chinese people have retained the basic social and cultural value that underlies the richness of their culture. But before visiting this beautiful country, you should also know and respect their peculiar customs.

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