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Cultural Awareness

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Our culture is different from one individual and group to the next, specifically from different regions where people lived and were immersed, different languages and dialects they spoke, and family lineage. 

Being culturally aware enables us to understand and interact with each other better, beyond words and grammar.

We offer presentations to groups who are interested in getting to know the Chinese culture:

  • Chinese churches, temples, minority associations, language schools.

  • Families by marriage, or those who adopt or foster Chinese children.

  • Private, public, charter, virtual K-12, or homeschool groups.

  • Travel agencies or traveler groups interested in going to China.

China’s Inexhaustible Ethnic Culture

China is a large country with 56 ethnic minorities and the exchange, influence, and penetration among them maintain the Chinese culture. 

Before urbanization, there were many rivers and mountains that separated groups of settlers in different areas and for a long time, the people had their own customs and habits, characteristics like dress, diet, residence, etiquette, festivals, weddings, funerals, written words, spoken languages, and so on. 

Before the founding of New China in 1949, where Han Characters and Mandarin Chinese become the inter-communication for the majority of the Chinese, ethnic minorities had their own written languages. The system of writing included pictographic writing, syllabic writing, and alphabetic writing that resembled Tibetan, Korean, Uighur, Dai, Arabic, Latin, and Slavic.

Linguists have determined between 7 to 10 main languages and many more sub-dialects. 

Today, it is still not uncommon for the Chinese living aboard to meet other Chinese people but not totally understand their sayings and customs.

The Dazzling Costumes

Each ethnic group is unique – even communities only several miles apart have their own clothes with distinct characteristics.

Construction Strategies

Each area of China has its own unique materials, construction methods, and climate adaptation needs. Architecture before major urbanization served to tie village communities together.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

For thousands of years before urbanization and access to modern medicine, villagers rely on herbs and food materials locally to seek cures for sicknesses or to achieve physical goals. The herbalist writes recipes based on the individual’s needs.

Feng Shui For Harmony

Tradition has been practiced since as early as 300 B.C., the Chinese believed the earth is a living thing and has life and energy. Arranging certain things in certain ways creates harmony with the surroundings. 

Special Cooking, Local Flavors

Rice, pasta, millet, yak beef, and various fish dishes are stapled food for (respectively) nationalities engaged in rice farming, wheat farming, cereal cultivation, in cold climates, and for people who live close to rivers.   

Love To Celebrate

There are estimates of over 1,700 unique and local ethnic celebrations, festivals, and ceremonies, some are so spectacular that draw visitors from around the world to come to experience them.

The Guidance - It's Ethic

Many Chinese see religions and philosophies as guidance as different times call for different needs and there’s no conflict between all. Ancestor veneration, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and worshiping a plethora of Gods, Goddesses, and Legendaries are the main practices.

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As moves to modernized cities and countries aboard, practices of ethnics traditions declined. However, many Chinese people would appreciate the knowledge and respect for their customs and traditions.


Values And Customaries

A highly respected quality in China is (? r?n) which is roughly equivalent to putting up with things without protesting. It is not a good idea to lose one’s temper because it is considered low emotional intelligence.

It is traditional to take a shower after work or be outside for most of the day. It cleanses the body from outside pollutants and helps keep the home clean.

It is quite common for the conversation to immediately become very personal. While two westerners may still be talking about the weather, the Chinese will be asking questions about your age, salary, marital status, and health.

People are taught that modesty and humility help to reduce competitiveness and give positive relationships. A compliment will usually be “refused”, the person receiving a compliment usually responds modestly with “I’m not as good.”


Tea Serving Etiquette

Serving guests with tea is a daily etiquette in social life and it is a way to show respect to guests and friends. The host should fill the tea to about 80% full so the guests can hold the cup without scalding. The host also refills the tea until the guests leave.

Giving & Receiving With Both Hands

To value the importance of giving and show appreciation for receiving, the Chinese hold the item with both hands.  

Color Symbolism

Red is the most auspicious color and it represents fire, power, and good luck. Red is often used in festivals, marriage ceremonies, gift wrapping, and paper cuttings. For funerals and mourning, white is used. Prisoners wear black and devils are depicted with black faces since black is considered as darkness and evil. 

Social Standing And Dignity

In everyday life, taking criticism in front of other people ‘loses face’ and is not acceptable. Confronting someone with a problem in front of others will rarely work and it is best discussed privately.

Remove Shoes To Enter House

Chinese households often take off their shoes or ask guests for hygiene reasons and to also help protect wood floors and carpets. The tradition started a thousand years BC when it was an etiquette to remove shoes and socks before meeting seniority.

Obligations, Not Rights

The family or relatives take care of each other and only when they can’t do they seek the help of others and from the state. It is the duty of the Chinese to take care of their elders instead of the elders having the right to be taken care of by their younger family.

Let The Host Pay

At a dinner gathering, one person will usually pay for all the diners on the basis that it is that person’s turn rather than try to divide equally. It is polite to offer to pay but if you are the guest it will generally be politely declined.

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Traditionally, the host uses the best ingredients available to cook when inviting guests over for a meal. They honor the guests with generous portions and a variety of meals consisting of appetizers, soups, main dishes, and desserts, and they would offer so much more than everyone can consume over the visit. The leftover would be available to distribute among servants or the less established people in the community. 

It shows good character to bring the host a small gift if you are invited into a house. If wrapped, the gift is generally not opened until after the guest leaves. 

Traditional Performances

There are some very unique performances that originated in China, they represent national characteristics and make any Chinese living aboard feel nostalgic.

Some are on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage Of Humanity like the Chinese Shadow Puppetry, Peking Opera, Wind And Percussion Ensemble, Tibetan Opera and more.

The performances are interesting and attractive to people around the world, they represent national spirits, connotations, and cultures. 

Khoomei, is the Mongolian art of singing. In Inner-Mongolia, the singer(s) produces a diversified harmony of multiple voice parts from their throat. The singing is reserved for special events like ritual ceremonies, horse races, archery & wrestling tournaments, and large banquets.

Chinese Puppetry

Chinese puppetry made the earliest techniques for animation. Many elder puppetry artists can perform dozens of traditional plays using shadows, gloves, and stringed figurines. They simultaneously sing and play various instrustments. 

Lion Dance, Dragon Dance

Lion dances have 2 operators for each lion while dragon dances have more. The performers are generally students of martial arts and performances can generally be seen at celebrations, ceremonies, and festivals. Dragon dances are mostly outdoors or inside large open spaces, the dragon can be up to 100 yards.

Chinese Drama

Sophisticated forms of Chinese Opera entertained the Imperial and the educated classes. They could be hired at the expense of a village chief and may also give a private performance.

Story Telling & Traditional Music

Probably the only form of art accessible to ordinary people from long long time ago. The storyteller tells tales and quite often the stories focused on historical events. They may complement the tales with songs, music, sounds, and gestures.


Chinese Acrobatics developed over 2,500 years ago in Hebei Province as people didn’t have television or other electronic inventions, they learned skills like acrobatics. In mid 1,800’s, North American circus shows started to include Chinese Acrobats. 

Traditional Classical Instruments

There were more than 70 types of musical instruments used in ancient China and many have more than 3,000 years of history. In modern days, many students practice at least one or more instruments. They learn from school or take private lessons.

Horseback Trick Riding

Horses were the main transportation before any mechanical ones were available. Families of status generally owned horses and people were riding them without helmets. In regions like Inner-Mongolia, riders play acrobat tricks for shows and competions.    

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A Meshrep event is a rich collection of traditions and performance arts, food and games in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Meshrep host uses the event as a way to mediate conflicts and ensures the preservation of moral standards.

Arts & Architecture

China has more than 5,000 years of history, it is full of profound cultures, mysterious places, stunning sites, and exquisite art.

The giant panda lives natively in particular mountain ranges of central China, and it is an emblem for the country.

Time-honored buildings, palaces, and parks tell the glorious past of China. China’s ‘Wonder of the World’, the Great Wall of China is one of the world’s topmost visited attractions.

The Yonghe Lamasery was the palace of Yongzheng emperor. There are 5 main magnificent halls, Heavenly Kings Hall, Harmony and Peace Hall, Everlasting Protection, Wheel of Law Hall, and Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happiness Hall.


Chinese Embroidery - Silk Craft

Traditionally an important role for women, silk-making encompasses planting mulberry, raising silkworms, unreeling silk, making thread, and weaving fabric. The skills are handed down within families and through apprenticeship.


The influence extends to South-East Asian countries, Thangka, is the art of painting religious scrolls for venerating Buddha. The art is used on veils and column ornaments; wood, clay, stone or brick sculptures, wall panels, tea tables, and cabinets.

Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy incorporates the element of artistry. Professional artisans and amateur enthusiasts use brushes to ink on any writing surface like letters, scrolls, works of literature, fan coverings, and even rocky walls, and cliffs. 

Chinese Seal Engraving

The design is first sketched on paper and then engraved on stone, in reverse, with a knife. The engraving requires a high degree of virtuosity. The seal is used as a signature or a sign of authority.

Chinese Paper Cut

Used for interior decor (windows, beds, and ceilings), paper-cut is a predominantly female pursuit. Paper cut expresses the moral principles, philosophies, and aesthetic ideals of the artist.

Architectural Craftsmanship

Timber-framed buildings are resistant to climate and earthquakes. The architectural craft encompasses decorative woodworking, tile roofing, stonework, decorative painting, and other arts.

Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors were only discovered in 1974, it is an army of more than 8,000 life-size soldiers sculptured to guard the burial site of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di. 

Hanging Temple

Defiance of gravity, hanging on the crag of Hengshan mountain, the Hanging Temple was built by the monks in Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). It is dedicated to Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism religions, and there are 78 statues and 40 rooms. 

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This world-famous stadium in Beijing, “Bird Nest” was built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This stunning monument uses steel beams to hide the movable roof and gave the stadium the look of a bird’s nest. 

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was constructed in 652 CE to collect Buddhist works and relics brought from India by Scholar Xuanzang, who traveled for 17 years to religious sites. His journey became the influence of the famous Chinese story “Journey to the West”.  

Games & Activities

In modern cities where every corner you look you can see people holding smart handheld devices, many traditional games are still played at just about everywhere people can find small spaces to do so.

Chinese people are very sociable and would rather spend time with others than alone.

Badminton and Ping Pong, these racquet and paddle games are both recreational and competitive sports. The pieces of equipment are lightweight and easy to carry so it’s not uncommon to see kids bringing racquets to school and playing during recess or on the side of the street before or after classes.

The Urban Square Dance or Guang Chang Wu is where generally groups of adults or elders practice different dance movements in public open spaces. Consider the popular outdoors Zumba or Yoga in the U.S., Chinese enjoy gathering outdoors for group exercise.

Chinese Shuttlecock

Both as recreational games and formal sports, almost all Chinese youth, adults, and elders know how to kick shuttlecocks. It is easy to make and small to carry and can be played by one person, two person, or a group of people. 

Rubber Rope Jumping

Looped with rubber bands, the rope is elastic and held by two players about 9 feet apart. The jumpers take turns to make various moves and evaluate the rope to higher levels. 

Chinese String Tricks

The simple game requires teamwork and offers a great sense of satisfaction when mastered. It helps to improve children’s hand-eye coordination and strengthen the small muscles in the hands and fingers. It also helps to learn patience and problem-solving.

Elephant Chess

Chinese Chess (Elephant Chess), is one of the most popular board games in China that is in the same family of games as Western chess, chaturanga, shogi, Indian chess, and janggi.


Mahjong (Sparrow, as clacking of tiles during shuffling, resembles the chattering of sparrows.). Created in China in the mid-19th Century, there are now many variations and styles of Mahjong played across the globe.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

A hand game originated in China, usually played between two people, in which each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes (rock, paper, scissors) with an outstretched hand. It can be used as a choice method between two people for a decision.

The Go Game

The game was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago and is believed to be the oldest board game continuously played to the present day. A survey found over 46 million people worldwide know how to play Go.

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tuó luó Top Spinning, (think BeyBlade!) This game is traced back as early as 960 A.D. Tops are spun by hand or by string, and a small whip to maintain a continuous spin.

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