Chinese History: First Five-Year Plan (1953-57)

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, there was an economic recovery period that lasted until 1952. The first Five-Year Plan was implemented the following year. With the exception of a two-year hiatus for economic adjustment between 1963 and 1965, Five-Year Plans have been in continuous implementation in China. Vision for the First Five-Year Plan China’s First Five-Year Plan (1953-57) had a two-pronged strategy. The first objective was to aim for a high rate of economic

Visiting Graves and Flying Kites: Tomb Sweeping Day in China

Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节, Qīngmíng jié) is a one-day Chinese holiday that has been celebrated in China for centuries. The day is meant to commemorate and pay respect to a person’s ancestors. Thus, on Tomb Sweeping Day, families visit and clean the gravesite of their ancestors to show their respect. In addition to visiting cemeteries, people also go for walks in the countryside, plant willows, and fly kites. Those who cannot travel back to their ancestors’ gravesites may opt to pay their respects

How to Plan a Traditional Chinese Wedding

While Chinese weddings have become infused with Western wedding traditions, most Chinese weddings maintain some traditional cultural elements. Do you want to know how to plan a traditional Chinese wedding? From the engagement to the ceremony, here's what you should know. As in Western culture, before a wedding, there must first be an engagement. In the past, most Chinese families relied on arranged marriages, but today, the majority of couples find their own match and marry for love. However, s

The Greatest Chinese Inventions You May Have Never Realized

Acupuncture (針刺, zhēn cì), a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine in which needles are placed along the meridians of the body that control the flow of chi, was first mentioned in the ancient Chinese medical text Huangdi Neijing (黃帝內經) which was compiled during the Warring States Period. The oldest acupuncture needles were made of gold and found in Liu Sheng’s (劉勝) tomb. Liu was a prince in the Western Han Dynasty.

What to Know About Chinese Traditions, Culture, and Proper Etiquette

Learning proper Chinese etiquette takes time and practice. The most important thing to remember is to smile, be sincere, and open-minded. The ability to go with the flow and be patient is essential. The following are some Chinese traditions and etiquette tips. It is becoming more and more popular to shake hands upon meeting, but oftentimes, a simple nod is how Chinese will greet each other. When a handshake is given, it may be firm or weak but don’t read into the firmness of the handshake as it

50 Common Chinese Proverbs

Chinese proverbs (諺語, yànyŭ) are popular sayings taken from literature, history, and famous people such as philosophers. The expressions are often used colloquially as statements of wisdom or advice. There are hundreds of Chinese proverbs addressing all aspects of life, from education and work to personal goals and relationships. "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today." - It is best to start a project as soon as you can.

What Is a Gua Sha Massage?

Guā Shā (刮痧) is a traditional Chinese healing method that entails scraping the back to drain excess fluids and toxins. Gua sha is used to treat colds and fevers by improving the flow of qi—the body's energy flow. The treatment can either be done alone or as an addition to a back or body massage. During a back massage, the masseuse may ask if you would like gua sha. Or, if a massage is not relieving the tension in your back, you can ask the masseuse to do gua sha. When receiving gua sha, you la

Modern Chinese Marry Love With Tradition

In the past, Chinese parents and matchmakers arranged marriage engagements. The engagement consisted of six courtesies: a marriage proposal, asking for names, praying for good fortune, sending betrothal gifts, sending invitations, and welcoming the bride. A family would hire a matchmaker, and the matchmaker would go to another family’s home to seek a proposal. Then both families would consult a fortune teller who analyzed the man and woman’s birth dates, times, names, and other vital informatio

Going to a Chinese Wedding? Here's What Gift to Bring

If you've been invited to a Chinese wedding, you may have some confusion about the customs and etiquette involved in choosing a gift. For most weddings, all you need to bring is a red envelope with enough money to cover your expenses at the wedding. Special circumstances may require a different gift, though. The tips below will help ensure you make the appropriate selection. Picking out a gift for a Chinese wedding is usually pretty simple. That's because, in lieu of gifts, Chinese wedding gues

The Kitchen God and Its Significance During Chinese New Year

The Kitchen God is assigned by Yu Huang, the emperor of heaven, to watch over each family and record what they do throughout the year. A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen. Each year during Chinese New Year, the Kitchen God returns to heaven to report on what the family has done throughout the year. The family has a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God’s mouth i

What You Should Know About Taiwan's National History

Han Chinese began crossing the Taiwan Strait during the 15th century. Then, the Spanish invaded Taiwan in 1626 and, with the help of the Ketagalan (one of the plains tribes), discovered sulfur, a main ingredient in gunpowder, in Yangmingshan, a mountain range that overlooks Taipei. After the Spanish and Dutch were forced out of Taiwan, Mainland Chinese returned in 1697 to mine sulfur after a huge fire in China destroyed 300 tons of sulfur. A rumor in 1636 that gold dust was found in today’s Pin

Why Is the Chinese Lily Flower so Important?

A bouquet of flowers is always a great go-to gift for events big or small or just to brighten up someone's day. A romantic and poetic present, most types of flowers symbolize an idea or theme, such as love, grieving, or congratulations. Like many other flowers in Chinese culture, the lily flower is imbued with meaning. The lily is often gifted to women on their birthdays or on their wedding day because the flower represents a bringer of sons and, traditionally, Chinese culture favors boys in t

Chinese Business Etiquette: Tips to Avoid Embarrassment

From setting up a meeting to formal negotiations, knowing the right words to say is integral in conducting business. This is especially true if you are hosting or are guests of international business people. When planning or attending a Chinese business meeting, keep these tips on Chinese business etiquette in mind. When setting up a Chinese business meeting, it is important to send as much information as possible to your Chinese counterparts in advance. This includes details about the topics t

The History Behind the Chinese Version of a Business Suit

Also known as the Zhongshan suit (中山裝, zhōngshān zhuāng), the Mao suit is the Chinese version of a Western business suit. A Mao suit is a polyester two-piece suit in gray, olive green, or navy blue. The Mao suit includes baggy pants and a tunic-style button down jacket with a flipped collar and four pockets. Dr. Sun Yat-sen, considered by many as the father of modern China, wanted to create a national dress. Sun Yat-sen, also known by the Mandarin pronunciation of his name, Sun Zhongshan, advo

Check Out How Your Name Looks in Chinese

Click on the English names beginning with the letter A to see the English name in Chinese. The Chinese names are translated based on the English pronunciation of the names. The Chinese names are written in simplified characters, which are used in Mainland China. To find your last name in Chinese, please see English Last Names in Chinese. Don't see your name here? Complete a Submit a First Name in Chinese form and your name will be added to the list in about two weeks.

Delve Into Chinese Drinking Culture With These Toasts

Whether you’re ringing in Chinese New Year with a bottle of champagne, making a toast at a wedding, or casually drinking 白酒 (báijiǔ, a popular type of Chinese alcohol) with your friends, knowing a few Chinese toasts to say will always liven the mood. Here is a beginner's guide to short Chinese toasts and other Chinese drinking culture tips. What to Say 乾杯 (Gānbēi), literally translating into "dry your cup", essentially means "cheers." This phrase can either be a very casual toast or sometimes

What Flowers Represent in Chinese Culture

Chinese flowers are a recurring theme in Chinese art and poetry. But without understanding the floriography—the meanings associated with certain flowers—the symbolism and thus underlying message could go over your head. Some flowers represent seasons or months: for example the four seasons are represented by flowering cherry (winter), orchid (spring), bamboo (summer) and chrysanthemum (fall). Others have symbolic meanings based on their Chinese names. Learn the importance of flowers in Chinese

What Was the May Fourth Movement in China?

While the May Fourth Incident occurred on May 4, 1919, the May Fourth Movement began in 1917 when China declared war against Germany. During World War I, China supported the Allies on the condition that control over Shandong Province, the birthplace of Confucius, would be returned to China if the Allies triumphed. In 1914, Japan had seized control of Shandong from Germany and in 1915 Japan had issued 21 Demands (二十一個條項, Èr shí yīgè tiáo xiàng) to China, backed by the threat of war. The 21 Deman
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