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China is one of the many earliest civilizations in the world. It is a vast country with a huge range of terrain and climate within it. The Chinese were the first to develop the compass, paper, porcelain and the silk clothes. Their culture is shaped by their festivals, customs, and their particular value for elements.
The Chinese have many orthodox festivals that are an essential part of their life. “One of the most important festival is the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year.”( Nelson np) This festival has been celebrated for over 3,000 years dating back to the Shang Dynasty. Stated by the the Chinese mythology, this celebration started when a village used the noises of firecrackers and drums to scare a monster named Nian/ Xi. “The Spring festival is a time for getting together with family, exchanging gifts, and lighting fireworks.”( Nelson np) In this festival the color red is used to scare Nian, the chinese monster. That why the color red holds some significance. Another one of the Chinese festivals it The Lantern Festival which is the last day of The Spring Festival. It became a festivals about 2,000 years ago. This festival was influenced during the Han Dynasty and the Song Dynasty. This celebration usually falls on February or March. “During this celebration thousands or millions of festive lanterns are lit and freed in the atmosphere.” “lanterns are lit in honor of Buddha”(Nelson np) Activities during this festival include guessing riddles, eating rice dumplings, the lion dance and the dragon dance. These are just two of the many festivals the Chinese culture celebrate.
Currently Chinese customs are a combination of antiquated traditions and “a westernised lifestyle. The two co- exist like the traditional Ying Yang formula of balance.” ( Chinese Culture, Traditions np)Present day there are only five official religions. These religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism. Any other religions illegal. Confucianism, also known as Ruism, was always being the official philosophy throughout most of Imperial China’s history, and mastery of Confucian texts was the primary criterion for entry into the imperial bureaucracy.
The languages are divided into seven major groups of dialects and their own vitiations. The official national language is Putonghua also known as standard Mandarin. Chinese philosophers, writers and poets were highly respected and played key roles in preserving and promoting the culture of the empire. Some classical scholars, however, were noted for their daring depictions of the lives of the common people, often to the displeasure of authorities. At the start of the 20th century, most of the population were still illiterate. The arts are influenced by the country’s rich spiritual and mystical history. Many musical instruments are integral to Chinese culture, including the flute-like xun and the guqin, which is in the zither family. Rice is not only a major food source in China; it is also a major element that helped grow their society. Some foods that are considered lucky and symbolic are noodles which bring happiness and longevity. Dumplings and spring rolls bring wealth. These are just a few of the many food that have a symbolic meaning. Family has always been extremely important in Chinese culture. For thousands of years the Chinese practice loyalty to family, obedience to the father and reverence for ancestors.
The Chinese value for elements are used to describe interactions. “Five Element Theory is a Chinese philosophy used to describe interactions and relationships between things.” ( CEFP np) The five elements are wood, fire, earth, meat, and water. They are beloved to be the fundamental elements of everything in the universe which interactions occur. This was mostly used by Chinese medicine, philosophy, feng shui, fortune telling and martial arts. Each of these elements have their own associations such as Fengshui association which is associated with nature, astrology association, Chinese medicine association. Everyone fits in to one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and a 12-year cycle according to the year in which they were born. One of the five elements is associated with each of the Chinese zodiac signs and 12-year cycles.
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