Ultimate Introduction to Chinese Traditions and Customs
Chinese culture is an ancient and continuous civilization with many traditions and customs inherited for thousands of years.
Some traditions are well preserved, while new customs keep adding or replacing the old ones.
Rituals and Etiquettes in the Tradition of China
Formed in the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC — 256 BC), Traditional Chinese Rituals include two main parts: national rituals regarding grand worship ceremonies by royals and officials and the individual etiquettes related to people's lives.
National Rituals concern grand worship ceremonies held by the ruling class, including worshiping heaven, earth, ancestors, and great deities, mostly to pray for the prosperity of the country, good harvests, and blessing for people's well beings.
After the last feudal dynasty ended in 1912, those grand imperial ceremonies were also abolished. Read More About National Rituals
From birth date to three days, an entire month, and a hundred day's celebrations to the baby's one-year-old birthday, there are various activities and ceremonies to celebrate the newborn. Read More About Chinese Birth Celebration
Coming of Age Ceremony
Coming of Age Ceremony is the ritual that declares one is accepted by the clan and society as an adult, qualified to get married and participate in social activities, and will start taking relevant responsibilities; for royals, it represents one's qualifications to inherit power and titles.
It was one of the essential rituals in ancient China and is revived today for its cultural meanings and symbolism. Read More About Coming of Age Ceremony
A traditional Chinese wedding includes a series of traditions, customs, and rites, from preparation and engagement to the wedding day rituals and important after-wedding ceremonies. Read More About Traditional Chinese Wedding
Unearthed Bronze Bind-Cups (He Jin Bei) of the Han Dynasty (202 BC — 220 AD) that used for A Couple to Drink Cross-Cupped Wine on Their Wedding — Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Funeral Tradition and Customs
In ancient China, national grief etiquettes were used to mourn famine, disease, natural disaster, or insurgence. Civilians' funeral traditions included a series of rituals to send the deceased decently and with the highest respect. Read More About Chinese Funeral Culture
In the traditions of China, walking, sitting, greeting, eating, and drinking all have specific protocols that Chinese people have followed strictly based on ancient hierarchies, some of which are now more considered representative of decent manners. Read More About Chinese Daily Rites
Traditional Chinese Festivals
Traditional Festivals in China are historic and nonreligious and mainly originated from ancient sacrifice ceremonies, ancestor worship, agricultural-related activities, and ancient mythology.
Each festival has exceptional holiday food and various activities, some of which vary among regions.
Besides the inherited celebration traditions and customs, all traditional festivals in China are based on the Chinese Calendar.
The Chinese Calendar is a Lunisolar Calendar formed according to the movement of both the sun and moon.
Originating in the Xia Dynasty (2070 BC — 1600 BC) and being revised and improved several times in history, the Chinese Calendar or Nong Li has been used as an accurate guide to agricultural activities.
Chinese Zodiac Signs
To present the 12 Earthly Branches in a vivid, straightforward way, 12 animals that were easier to remember by most civilians in an ancient agricultural society had been used and formed a new system.
That is the 12 Chinese Zodiac Signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
Every person, based on their birth date in the Chinese Calendar, has one zodiac sign.
To observe and record movements of the Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn, the ancient Chinese divided other shining stars into several groups: Three Enclosures in the middle section and Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions around the Ecliptic and the Equator.
Every group covers an area that is a coordinate or a mansion for the seven planets to "stay" during their movements.
Meanwhile, every mansion was assigned a beautiful name, a mythical creature, and a deity to guard.
The Earliest Artifact (Lacquer Suitcase) with the Entire Twenty-eight Lunar Mansions' names, Unearthed from Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (about 477 BC — 433 BC) — Hubei Museum
In ancient Chinese astrology, the movement and position of the seven planets, brightness and colors of stars, and showing of meteors or other phenomena in mansions are all related to specific events or predict changes in the world on earth.
The moon moves to a different mansion every day; hence, based on birth date, every person has a Lunar Mansion, which forms a Chinese Constellation that indicates one's personality, career, love life, past relationships with others, destiny, and so on.
The following and use of Feng Shui have been an important tradition in China for thousands of years.
The central concept of Feng Shui is that nature is powerful and influential. Hence, people should respect and make the best use of it and try their best to fit in the natural atmosphere.
In Chinese culture, it is believed that good Feng Shui can bring people fortune, while bad ones might bring negative influences.
Some people consider Feng Shui culture superstitious, while others believe it is a scientific, aesthetic subject and keep applying it extensively.
Dream Interpretation and Meanings
The dream is a vast, mysterious world that shows or occurs when people sleep, which can be joyful, funny, magical, scary, blue, bizarre, predictable, and reflective. People have interpreted and studied it for thousands of years, yet it remains mystical.
Because of dreams' complexity and mystery, interpreting dreams have been quite significant, especially in ancient times.
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