The Significance of Red Envelopes in Chinese Culture

A red envelope (紅包, hóngbāo) is simply a long, narrow, red envelope. Traditional red envelopes are often decorated with gold Chinese characters, such as happiness and wealth. Variations include red envelopes with cartoon characters depicted and red envelopes from stores and companies that contain coupons and gift certificates inside. How Red Envelopes Are Used During Chinese New Year, money is put inside red envelopes which are then handed out to younger generations by their parents, grandpare

All About the Chinese Communist Party

How Was the Communist Party of China Founded? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was founded in the early 1920s by intellectuals who were influenced by the Western ideas of anarchism and Marxism. They were inspired by the 1918 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and by the May Fourth Movement, which swept across China at the end of World War I. At the time of the CCP’s founding, China was a divided, backward country ruled by various local warlords and burdened by unequal treaties that gave foreign p

What Is the Importance of the Lotus Flower in Chinese Culture?

The lotus’ importance comes from Buddhism, and is one of the eight precious things in Buddhism. The lotus is said to bloom in Beijing on lunar April 8 (the Buddha’s birthday) and lunar January 8 is Lotus Day. A cultural taboo related to the lotus is if a woman sews on lunar Lotus Day, she will have menstrual trouble. The lotus (蓮花, lián huā, 荷花, hé huā) is known as the gentleman’s flower because it grows out from the mud, pure and unstained. The "he" in a man’s name indicates he is either a Bud

11 Taboos in Chinese Culture

Every culture has its own taboos, and it is important to remain aware of them when traveling or encountering another culture to ensure you don't commit a social faux-pas. In Chinese culture, some of the most common taboos involve gift-giving, birthdays, and weddings. In Chinese, the number four (四, sì) sounds like the word for death (死, sǐ). For this reason, the number four is avoided—particularly on phone numbers, license plates, and addresses. For addresses that do contain fours, the rent is

Based on Season, Element, and Personality, Are You Yin or Yang?

Each person is classified as yin or yang based on one of the five elements, depending on your year of birth. The strength of your yin or yang nature also depends on the day of the year you are born, as different elements are stronger in different seasons. Your Chinese zodiac sign depends on the year of your birth. The years do not completely correspond with Western years, as the year starts on a day other than January 1. If you are born in January or February, you may be under the sign for the

China's Education Methods and How to Enroll in School

China can be a great place to learn depending on what topic you are studying, what teaching methods work best for you or your personal interests. Whether you're thinking of going to school in China, considering enrolling your child in a Chinese school, or just curious to know more, here are answers to frequently asked questions about school programs in China, China's education methods, and enrolling in school in China. After middle school, parents must pay for public high school. The majority

Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Taiwan

While the Lantern Festival is the most popular way to end the Chinese New Year, Taiwan also has several other folk festivals and events. All ceremonies are open to the public and free, so read on to see where you should experience Chinese New Year in Taiwan next time around! Chinese New Year is the most important and, at 15 days, the longest holiday in Chinese culture. In Taiwan , festivals are held throughout the holiday and welcoming the new lunar year is celebrated in different ways in diffe

How Wei Xin Became the Most Popular Instant Messenger App in China

The company that brought Chinese Internet users QQ, the most popular instant messaging option in China, launched Wei Xin, a mobile phone app in late 2011 that millions of Chinese have downloaded. Wei Xin (微信) is a free instant voice messaging app that is based on other instant messaging apps like Talkbox, MiTalk (米聊), an instant messaging in which doodles can be sent, and Kiki Messenger. With Wei Xin, users can speak into their phones and send voice messages instantly to friends. There’s no nee

Ever Wonder What Your Name Translates to in Chinese?

Learn your Chinese name with this list of English names and their Chinese translations. They're ordered alphabetically, by gender, and translated based on the English pronunciation. The Chinese names are written in the simplified characters used in Mainland China. How the Names Are Translated It's common for Chinese people to translate their native names into English by pronunciation. An English translation is created by using sounds similar to the Chinese characters. English names can be tra

What Do Brides Traditionally Wear for Chinese Weddings?

At most Chinese weddings, the bride wears a qipao. At many Chinese weddings, the bride wears more than one Chinese wedding dress. Most brides opt for three dresses -- one red qipao, one white, Western-style wedding gown, and a third ball gown. The bride will begin the wedding banquet with one dress of these dresses. After three courses are served, the bride usually changes into her second Chinese wedding dress. After the sixth course, the bride will change once again into her third Chinese wedd

Your Guide to Chinese New Year Lantern Wishes

Chinese New Year includes two weeks of celebration with most activities taking place on just three days: New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, and Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of Chinese New Year. Here's what you should know about the Lantern Festival, including the symbolism of the celebration and which characters to write on your own lantern to wish in Chinese. What Is the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival? Every year, on the last day of Chinese New Year, families from Tai

Filial Piety: An Important Chinese Cultural Value

Filial piety (孝, xiào) is arguably China's most important moral tenet. A concept of Chinese philosophy for more than 3,000 years, xiào today entails a strong loyalty and deference to one's parents, to one's ancestors, by extension, to one's country and its leaders. In general, filial piety requires children to offer love, respect, support, and deference to their parents and other elders in the family, such as grandparents or older siblings. Acts of filial piety include obeying one's parent's wi

Things to Know About Chinese Funerals

The job of coordinating and preparing Chinese funerals falls on the children or younger family members of the deceased person. It is part of the Confucian principle of filial piety and devotion to one’s parents. Family members must consult the Chinese Almanac to determine the best date to hold the Chinese funeral ceremony. Funeral homes and local temples help the family prepare the body and coordinate the funeral rites. Announcements of the funeral are sent in the form of invitations. For most

Each Mahjong Tile Has a Meaning, and Knowing Them Can Help You Play

The character suit tiles have the character 萬 (wàn), which means 10,000, plus the Chinese character for the numbers one through nine. Another simple suit is called characters, also known as numbers , thousands, or coins. These tiles feature the character 萬 (wàn) on its surface, which means 10,000. Each tile also has a Chinese character ranging from one to nine. Thus, it is necessary to learn how to read numbers one through nine in Chinese in order to be able to put the tiles in numerical order

Learn How to Play Liar's Dice, a Chinese New Year's Tradition

Throughout China, Liar’s Dice (說謊者的骰子, shuōhuǎng zhě de shǎizi) is played during holidays, especially Chinese New Year. The fast-paced game can be played by two or more players and the number of rounds is limitless. Players usually agree to a predetermined number of rounds or set a time limit but none of that is set in stone; new players and additional rounds can be added as the game goes along. While the number of players and rounds may be casual, Liar’s Dice can also be quite intense as it's t

Why Is the CCTV New Year’s Gala so Popular in China?

Since 1983, Chinese families have sat down to wrap dumplings and watch CCTV’s "New Year’s Gala" on television on Chinese New Year's Eve. It’s a Chinese New Year’s Eve tradition that nearly every family in China participates in to ring in the New Year. What Is the CCTV New Year’s Gala Like? The "New Year’s Gala" features a variety of skits and performances. While the performers change annually, the format of the show is mostly consistent, with some of the most popular performers returning year

Chinese Etiquette for Visiting a Chinese Home

It is becoming more and more popular for foreigners to be invited into Chinese homes for dinner. Even business associates may receive an invitation to be entertained at their Chinese counterpart’s home. Learn the proper etiquette for visiting a Chinese home. 1. Be sure to either accept or decline the invitation. If you must decline, it is important to give a specific reason as to why you can’t attend. If you are vague, the host may think you are not interested in having a relationship with him

All About the Modern Chinese Wedding Ceremony and Banquet

In modern China, the official marriage ceremony is now substantially different than it was in traditional Chinese custom, where most marriages were arranged according to a social arrangement and were heavily influenced by the philosophy and practices of Confucianism—at least for the majority of Han Chinese. Other ethnic groups traditionally had different customs. These traditional customs were a carry-over from feudal times in China but were changed by two different reforms after the Communist r

What Not to Buy When Giving Gifts in China

While giving a gift is much appreciated in Asian countries as everywhere, there are some gifts that are absolute no-nos in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In these countries, politeness, in particular, polite language, is an important part of gift-giving. It is always polite to give gifts at festivities, or when you're attending special celebrations such as a wedding or housewarming, visiting the sick, or attending a dinner with people one doesn't know well. Some gifts have subtle meanings assoc

What Is a Qipao in Chinese Fashion?

Qipao, also known as cheongsam (旗袍) in Cantonese, is a one-piece Chinese dress that has its origins in Manchu-ruled China back in the 17th century. The style of the qipao has evolved over the decades and is still worn today. During the Manchu rule, the chieftain Nurhachi (努爾哈赤, Nǔ'ěrhāchì, ruled 1559–1626) established the banner system, which was a structure for organizing all Manchu families into administrative divisions. The traditional dress that Manchu women wore became known as the qipao (
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