Exploring Chinese Customs and Culture

China is an exciting blend of tradition and modernity: centuries-old temples surrounded by gleaming skyscrapers, colorful street food and imperial palaces, striking natural formations, and ancient pagodas. Chinese people tend to honor tradition, but they also embrace many parts of Western popular culture. Thanks in part to the lasting influence of Confucianism, Chinese customs include a strong sense of family, a deep respect for hierarchy, and an appreciation for harmony over conflict. China is a fascinating intersection of ancient cultures and language with ultramodern infrastructure, innovation, and growth.

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Chinese People and Community

In China, spending time with family is expected. Chinese people respect hierarchy and appreciate proper social relations, full of harmony and with minimal conflict. Families in cities tend to live in apartments, often with grandparents.

Filial piety and loyalty are valued by most Chinese families. Parents will do everything they can for the children’s growth and the children are expected to compensate their parents’ sacrifice in the future. Male members such as grandfathers and fathers are commonly thought as the core roles in a family.

In most families, both parents work full time. Families generally have one child, and it is not uncommon for grandparents to live with the family. Parents expect to know when their children are going out and where they are going, and most families have certain rules for the children regarding the amount of time they are supposed to invest into recreational activities. In addition, parents often encourage active involvement in their children’s school activities. Chinese students typically spend a great amount of time in their school work.

Language and Communication Styles

China has 55 different ethnic groups, each with its own language or dialect. However, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than 70% of people in China.

Food in China

Chinese cuisine is varied and delicious with a wide spectrum of textures and tastes. Chinese meals usually consist of vegetables, rice, noodles, and a meat dish. Traditional Chinese dinners may include Peking duck (roasted duck covered with sweet wheat sauce and wrapped in a thin pancake), Mongolian hotpot (a Chinese version of fondue), jiaozi (dumplings with pork, chives and onions), and delicious teas. Just as coffee in the West, tea has become a part of daily life in China. Teahouses are scattered on Chinese streets like cafes in the West. “Tea Culture” has become immensely popular in China, including articles, poems, and photographs that detail the art of making and drinking tea.

Following a vegetarian diet in China can be very challenging, as meat is often used as a flavor enhancer, even when it is not directly in the dish. Animal organs like feet, heads, liver, and some insects are part of Chinese cuisine.

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