Table of Contents
No country in the world has a history longer than China’s. If you were to travel back in time over two thousand years, you would discover the Chinese state thriving where it is today, a strong government ruling over the largest country the world had ever known. And though you had traveled back before the time of Jesus, you would find that China already possessed a historical tradition two thousand years long. Since that time, there have been periods where the country of China has been divided for extended periods, with regional governments claiming independent sovereignty, but the belief that China is at root a single state with a single culture has always remained so strong that unity has ultimately returned, making even centuries of fragmentation seem like brief lapses in the story of the longest surviving political entity on earth.
No country on earth has a population greater and more diverse than China’s. With almost 1.4 billion people, vast stretches of land occupied by minority nationalities who, in many cases, don’t even consider themselves Chinese, and a jarring mixture of soaring city skylines and premodern rural backwaters, China today may be the most complex country in the world, difficult even for the Chinese themselves to understand.
10 Massive Interesting parts & famous destinations of China
Chinese culture, customs and traditions
For thousands of years, Chinese calligraphy has been a way of communicating through writing, art and self-expression. Each Chinese character, or group of characters, tells a story. Workmanship is in the strokes (the art) as well as the story. This is part of the allure of Chinese calligraphy. Since people use phones and computers these days, artisans who practice calligraphy are held in high esteem in China.
Chopsticks have been a part of Chinese culture since 1,200 BC. Back then, they were used more for cooking and it wasn’t until around 400 AD that they were shortened and used for eating food.
The appeal of chopsticks was probably deepened because of their connection to Confucius, one of the most important figures in Chinese history For many Westerners, chopsticks are fiddly, hard to control, and half the food tends to end up in your lap! But once you’ve mastered chopsticks you’ll be eating Chinese food like a pro
Martial arts are really popular in China, especially kung fu (or ‘gongfu’ in Chinese). It dates back to the Zhou Dynasty (1,111-255 BC) so it’s ingrained in Chinese culture. Kung fu is a combination of spirituality, exercise, and unarmed personal combat. There are various movements in kung fu, most of which are imitations of the fighting styles of the snake and mythical dragon. Martial arts movie icons, including Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan, have kept kung fu alive in mainstream Chinese culture.
Mandarin is the national language, but it’s not the only Chinese language. There are many others including Cantonese, Hunanese and Shanghainese. Languages can be specific to provinces, regions or even cities, making domestic travel interesting for both locals and foreign travelers. There are four main tones in Mandarin. If you get the tone wrong, the meaning of what you’re saying can change drastically, or even make no sense at all. This makes Mandarin difficult for foreigners to learn. However, just being able to say a few words can go a long way towards making your first trip to China easier and more enjoyable.
Hanfu – The Most Traditional Chinese Clothing
The Hanfu (‘Han clothing’ – the majority of Chinese are of Han ethnicity) is the oldest of China’s traditional clothes. Legend traces it back to over 4,000 years ago when Huangdi’s consort, Leizu, made cloth with silk. It was constantly improved throughout several dynasties.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. The New Year’s Eve dinner is called Reunion Dinner, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families – families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together.
China International Cartoon and Animation Festival (CICAF)
China International Cartoon and Animation Festival (CICAF) is the only state-level professional festival of its kind in China, which has been held in Hangzhou since 2005, the capital of Zhejiang Province, a scenic city famed for its legendary West Lake as the World Cultural Heritage.
Chinese Moon Festival is traditionally celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth funicular month (see Mid-Autumn Festival Dates), which is in September or October. Mid-Autumn Festival 2015 is on September 27. Chinese people will have a two-day holiday from September 26 to 27. The Mid-autumn festival is the second most important festival after the Spring Festival to Chinese people. Every year, when the festival comes people go home from every corner of the country and the world to meet their family and have dinner with them, admire the full moon and eat mooncakes.
The Great Wall of China
The magnificent Great Wall of China – known in Chinese as ‘Changcheng’, or the ‘Long Wall’ – stretches more than 6,000 kilometers from the fortresses of Shanhaiguan in the east all the way to Jiayuguan in the west, passing through Hebei, Tientsin, Beijing – where the best preserved sections of the wall can be visited – Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Gansu.
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Sichuan
No visit to China would be complete without at least one panda experience. While the country’s top zoos boast many fine specimens of these fascinating creatures, the best place to see them in a close approximation to their natural habitat is at the excellent Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, located in the province of Sichuan. Here, you’ll have the chance to watch as many as 80 pandas go about their daily routines, from foraging to playing in the facility’s large park-like setting.
In addition to viewing these splendid animals up close, you’ll learn a great deal about them from the many permanent exhibits and displays detailing ongoing conservation efforts to safeguard their future.