Chinese culture - Wikipedia
Ming dynasty, Wade-Giles romanization Ming, Chinese dynasty that lasted from to and provided an interval of native Chinese rule between eras of. Today, dating shows are an important ingredient in China's cultural diet, I've studied how traditional Chinese marriage rituals have evolved in response to globalization. A wedding party poses for pictures in Shanghai. Culture of China - history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, Records of civilization in China date back to around B.C.E. and the usually yellow or green, which is adorned with images of gods and dragons.
The color red symbolizes the revolution. The large star stands for the Communist Party, and the four small stars symbolize the Chinese people; the position of the stars stands for a populace united in support of the state. The main symbol of the nation is the dragon, a fantastical creature made up of seven animals. It is accorded the power to change size at will and to bring the rain that farmers need. New Year's festivities often include a line of people in a dragon costume.
Another patriotic symbol is the Great Wall. Spanning a length of 1, miles, it is the only human-made structure visible from the moon. Work began on the wall in the third century B. The emperor conscripted criminals and ordinary farmers for the construction; many died while working, and their bodies were buried in the wall.
It has become a powerful symbol of both the oppression the Chinese have endured and the heights their civilization has achieved. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation. Records of civilization in China date back to around B.
The Zhou defeated the Shang in B. China was a feudal state until the lord of Qin managed to unite the various lords and became the first emperor in B. He ruled with an iron fist, demanding that the teachings of Confucius be burned, and conscripting thousands of people to construct canals, roads, and defensive walls, including the beginning of what would become the Great Wall. The Qin Dynasty was short-lived; it lasted only three years, until the death of the emperor. The Han Dynasty, which held sway from B.
This system remained in effect until the beginning of the twentieth century. The Han Dynasty was followed by the Period of Disunity, which lasted more than three hundred years. During that time, the country was split into areas ruled by the Mongols and other tribes from the north.
It was during this period that Buddhism was introduced in the country. The Sui Dynasty rose to power inconnecting the north and the south through the construction of the Grand Canal.
The Tang Dynasty ruled from until and saw a blossoming of poetry and art. It was also a period of expansion, as the nation increased its territory in the west and north.
The Five Dynasties period followed, during which the empire once again split. The Song Dynasty — was another artistically prolific era. It was during this time that the capital was established in Beijing. The Ming took over in and ruled for nearly three hundred years. During that period, trade continued to expand. Especially in later years, the Qing practiced strict isolationism, which ultimately led to their downfall, as their military technology did not keep pace with that of the Western powers.
Foreign traders came to the country by sea, bringing opium with them. The Qing banned opium inbut the foreigners did not heed that decree. Inthe Chinese confiscated twenty thousand chests of the drug from the British. The British retaliated, and the four Opium Wars began. The result was a defeat for China and the establishment of Western settlements at numerous seaports. The foreigners took advantage of the Qing's weakened hold on power and divided the nation into "spheres of influence.
The Treaty of Nanjing gave the British rights to that city "in perpetuity. A group of rebels called the "Righteous and Harmonious Fists," or the Boxers, formed to overthrow both the foreigners and the Qing. The Qing, recognizing their compromised position, united with the Boxers to attack the Western presence in the country. In reality, power rested in the hands of regional rulers who often resorted to violence. On 4 Maya student protest erupted in Beijing in opposition to continued Western influence.
The student agitation gained strength, and the years between and the s came to be known as the May Fourth Movement, a period that saw a large-scale rejection of Confucianism and a rise in social action, both of which were precursors to the communist revolution.
The politically weakened and disunified state of the country paved the way for two opposing political parties, each of which had a different vision of a modern, united nation. The two tried to join forces, with Chiang as the head of the National Revolutionary Army, but dissension led to a civil war.
The Sino-Japanese war began in when Japan, taking advantage of China's weakened and divided state, invaded the country. An attack on the city of Nanjing the capital at that time in resulted indeaths and large-scale destruction of the city. Japan did not withdraw its forces until after World War II. The Kuomintang, with its military superiority, forced the communists into a retreat to the north that lasted a year and became known as the Long March. Along the way, the communists redistributed land from the rich owners to the peasants, many of whom joined their fight.
The Nationalists controlled the cities, but the communists continued to grow in strength and numbers in the countryside; by the late s, the Nationalists were surrounded.
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Many Kuomintang members abandoned Chiang's army and joined the communists. In AprilNanjing fell to the communists; other cities followed, and Chiang, along with two million of his followers, fled to Taiwan. Mao began a series of Five Year Plans to improve the economy, beginning with heavy industry. Inas part of those reforms, he initiated a campaign he named the Great Leap Forward, whose goals were to modernize the agricultural system by building dams and irrigation networks and redistributing land into communes.
At the same time, industries were established in rural areas. Many of those efforts failed because of poor planning and a severe drought in the northern and central regions of the country. A two-year famine killed thirty million people. The government launched the so-called One Hundred Flowers campaign in the spring of with the slogan "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.
Many people interpreted this to mean an increased tolerance of political expression, but the government did not agree, and the result was a large-scale purge of intellectuals and critics of the Communist Party. This was part of what became known as the Cultural Revolution. In an attempt to rehabilitate his popularity, Mao initiated an attack on his enemies in the Communist Party.
Those attacks extended beyond the government to include intellectuals, teachers, and scientists, many of whom were sent to work camps in the countryside for "reeducation.
Tens of thousands of young people were enlisted in Mao's Red Guards, who carried out his orders and lived by the words of the Little Red Book of Mao's quotations. In the early s, toward the end of Mao's regime, Zhou Enlai, an influential politician, worked to restore relations between China and the outside world, from which it had been largely cut off during the Cultural Revolution.
President Richard Nixon made a historic trip to China to meet with Mao, beginning a period of improvement in diplomatic relations with the United States. When Mao died inthe country was in a state of virtual chaos. Known as the Gang of Four, they were widely disliked. When the gang publicly announced its opposition to Hua inHua had them arrested, a move that was widely approved.
The four politicians were imprisoned but did not come to trial until InDeng Xiaoping, a Communist Party member who had been instrumental in the Civil War and the founding of the People's Republic, rose to power and began a program of modernization and moderation of hard-line economic policies.
He was faced with the great challenge of updating a decrepit and wasteful government system and responding to demands for increased freedom while maintaining order. Dissatisfaction was widespread, particularly among students, who began calling for an end to government corruption and the establishment of a more democratic government. InBeijing University students organized demonstrations in Tiananmen Square that lasted for weeks. The People's Liberation Army finally opened fire on the protesters.
The June Fourth Massacre Tiananmen Square Massacre garnered international attention and sparked worldwide indignation. The United States responded by imposing trade sanctions. Deng died inmarking the end of government by the original founders of the communist state. Jiang Zemin, the mayor of Shanghai, became president. His government has faced a growing but unstable economy and a system beset by official corruption as well as several regions threatening the A man stands in front of a family planning billboard in Beijing.
Due to China's huge population, most families are allowed to have only one child. There is a boundary dispute with India, as well as boundary, maritime, and ownership disputes with Russia, Vietnam, North Korea, and several other nations. The handover occurred at midnight on 1 July. Although it had been agreed that Hong Kong would retain the financial and judicial systems installed by the British at least untilan estimated half-million people left the city between and in anticipation of the takeover, immigrating to the United States, Canada, and Singapore.
Macao, a Portuguese colony, was given back to China in December under conditions similar to those in the Hong Kong deal, in which the territory would be permitted to retain much of its economic and governmental sovereignty.
Taiwan remains another territory in question. The island broke away from the mainland government in after the relocation there of Chiang Kaishek and his nationalist allies, who have governed since that time.
The Nationalists still maintain their mandate to govern the nation as a whole, and many are opposed to reunification, while the communists claim that Taiwan is a province of China. Tibet is a contested region that has gained international attention in its quest for independence.
China first gained control of the area during the Yuan Dynasty — and again early in the eighteenth century. While it was part of China through the Qing Dynasty, the government did not attempt to exercise direct control of Tibet again until the communists came to power and invaded the territory in The Dalai Lama, Tibet's religious and political leader, was forced into exile in The region became autonomous in but remains financially dependent on China.
The question of its independence is a complex one, and resolution does not appear imminent. The vast majority of Chinese people are of Han descent. They identify with the dominant national culture and have a sense of history and tradition that dates back over one thousand years and includes many artistic, cultural, and scientific accomplishments. When the communists took over inthey worked to create a sense of national identity based on the ideals of equality and hard work.
Some minority groups, such as the Manchu, have assimilated almost entirely. While they maintain their own languages and religions, they identify with the nation as well as with their own groups. Other minority ethnic groups tend to identify more with their individual cultures than with the Han.
For example, the Mongolians and Kazakhs of the north and northwest, the Tibetans and the Zhuangs in the southwest, and the inhabitants of Hainan Island to the southeast are all linguistically, culturally, and historically distinct from one another and from the dominant tradition.
For some minority groups, the Tibetans and Uigurs of Xinjiang in particular, the issue of independence has been an acrimonious one and has led those groups to identify themselves deliberately in opposition to the central culture and its government.
China is for the most part an extremely homogeneous society composed of a people who share one language, culture, and history. The government recognizes fifty-five minority groups that have their own distinct cultures and traditions.
Most of those groups live in Outer China, because the Han have, over the centuries, forced them into those harsh, generally less desirable lands. The Han often consider the minority groups inferior, if not subhuman; until recently, the characters for their names included the symbol for "dog.
Tibet and Xinjiang in particular have repeatedly attempted to separate from the republic. The Tibetans and the Uighurs of Xinjiang have expressed animosity toward the Han Chinese who live in bordering regions, and as a result, China has sent troops to those areas to maintain the peace. Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space While the majority of the population is still rural, the cities are growing, as many people migrate in search of work.
Forty cities have populations over one million. The largest city is Shanghai, which is near the center of the country's east coast. Because of its strategic location as a port on the Huangpu River, near the Yangtze, areas of the city were taken over by the British, French, and Americans after the Opium Wars.
Although those concessions were returned to China inShanghai retains a European feel in some districts. It is a city of skyscrapers and big business, a cultural locus, and a center of both extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Beijing, the capital, is the second largest urban center.
Its history goes back three thousand years, and it has been the capital since the late thirteenth century. Beijing is divided into the Inner City to the north and the Outer City to the south.
This spectacular architectural aggregation of temples, palaces, and man-made lakes, whose construction began inis where the emperor and his court resided. Although it once was off limits to civilians, today sightseers and tourists can admire its gardens, terraces, and pavilions. Tienanmen Square, the site of several demonstrations and events, as well as the location of Mao's tomb, is at one end of the Forbidden City.
Despite the city's size, it is still possible to navigate Beijing without a car, and most people do; bicycles are one of the most common modes of transportation—this cuts down greatly on air pollution.
Other important cities include Tianjin, a northern port and industrial center; Shenyang in the northeast, another industrial city; and Guangzhou, the main southern port city. Architecture varies with the diverse climate. In the north, people sleep on a platform called a kang. Mongolians live in huts called yurts. In the south, straw houses built on stilts are common.
In much of the country, traditional houses are rectangular and have courtyards enclosed by high walls. The roofs are sloped, curving upward at the edges.
Food and Economy Food in Daily Life.
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Rice is the dietary staple in most of the country. In the north and the west, where the climate is too dry to grow rice, wheat is the staple grain.
Here, breakfast usually consists of noodles or wheat bread. In the south, many people start the day with rice porridge, or congee, served with shrimp, vegetables, and pickles. Lunch is similar to breakfast. The evening meal is the day's largest. Every meal includes soup, which is served as the last course. People cook in a wok, a metal pan with a curved bottom; this style of cooking requires little oil and a short cooking time.
Steaming in bamboo baskets lined with cabbage leaves is another cooking method. Meat is expensive and is served sparingly. The cuisine can be broken down into four main geographic varieties. In Beijing and Shandong, specialties include Beijing duck served with pancakes and plum sauce, sweet and sour carp, and bird's nest soup. Shanghaiese cuisine uses liberal amounts of oil and is known for seafood and cold meat dishes. Food is particularly spicy in the Sichuan and Hunan provinces.
Shrimp with salt and garlic, frogs' legs, and smoked duck are popular dishes. Neighborhood houses in Dali reflect traditional Chinese urban architecture. The southern cuisine of Canton and Chaozhou is the lightest of the four. Seafood, vegetables, roast pork and chicken, and steamed fish are served with fried rice. Dim sum, a breakfast or lunch meal consisting of a combination of different appetizer style delicacies, is popular there. Cooking reflects the country's history of famines caused by factors such as natural disasters and war.
The Chinese eat parts and species of animals that many other cultures do not, including fish heads and eyeballs, birds' feet and saliva, and dog and cat meat. Tea is the most common beverage.
The Han drink it unsweetened and black, Mongolians have it with milk, and Tibetans serve it with yak butter. The Chinese are fond of sugary soft drinks, both American brands and locally produced ones. Beer is a common beverage, and there are many local breweries. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Special occasions and large family gatherings often entail big, elaborate meals.
In the north, dumplings called jiaozi are served at the Spring Festival and other special occasions. For the Moon Festival in midautumn, "moon cakes" are served, baked pastries filled with ground sesame and lotus seeds or dates.
Banquets originating in the imperial tradition are ceremonial meals common to important state gatherings and business occasions. They usually are held at restaurants and consist of ten or more courses. Rice is not served, as it is considered too cheap and commonplace for such an event.
Inthe country began the slow process of shifting from a Soviet-style economy to a more free market system, and in twenty years managed to quadruple the gross domestic product GDP and become the second largest economy in the world. However, the decentralization of the economy has often conflicted with the tight reign exercised by the highly centralized political system. The economy is burdened with widespread corruption, bureaucracy, and large state-run businesses that have been unable to keep pace with economic expansion.
Inflation rates, which rose steeply in the s, fell between and as a result of stricter monetary policies and government control of food prices. While the economy appears to be improving, the standard of living in rural areas remains poor, and the government faces problems collecting taxes in provinces that are becoming increasingly autonomous, such as Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The labor force consists of million people, of whom 50 percent work in agriculture, 24 percent in industry, and 26 percent in services. The unemployment rate is roughly 10 percent in the cities and higher in the countryside. A large number of migrants move between the villages and the cities, barely supporting themselves with part-time jobs and day labor.
The national currency is named the yuan. One of the largest economic challenges has been feeding the enormous population. The government has taken a two-pronged approach, instituting a series of modernization projects to improve irrigation and transportation and trying to curb population growth by allowing each family to have only one child.
The one-child law, which does not apply to minority groups, has faced widespread popular resistance. Land Tenure and Property. One of Mao's priorities was a program of land reform. He turned over the previous sharecropper-like system and in its place established collective, government-run farms. Deng did away with many of the large-scale communes. While safeguarding the system of government-owned land, he allowed individual farmers to rent land and gave them more freedom in decision making.
This shift saw a large increase in agricultural productivity; output doubled in the s.
While farmers and other individuals have much more control over their land than in the past, the majority of it is still owned by the government. Much commercial activity revolves around agriculture. Products vary from region to region. The main goods produced for domestic sale are rice, wheat, soybeans, fruits, and vegetables.
From toall farms were run as communes and were required to sell all of their output to the government at predetermined prices. Today, farmers still must sell a portion of the yield to the government, but the rest goes on the open market where supply and demand determine the price. However, even in the wake of political change and globalization, many families still held the traditional Chinese belief that women, unlike men, belonged in the home, and that their parents had the final say over whom they could marry.
Certain traditions still ruled. The style of the show followed a linear pattern. It was essentially a singles ad broadcast before audience members, who, if interested, could contact the candidate for a date. Despite all the limitations, the show was a groundbreaking depiction of courtship. It took decisions about love and marriage from the private home to the very public domain of broadcast TV. Economic liberalization had loosened restrictions for what could appear on the airwaves, but there was now the added pressure of turning a profit.
More than ever before, networks needed to produce entertaining shows that attracted audiences. It was during this period that dating shows started to transform, depicting live, on-air matchmaking and dates between single males and females. The suitor stops the courtship if he is quite sure that the woman does not reciprocate. But once the female encourages the suitor to continue, the "teasing stage" comes to a close and a "serious stage" of Philippine courtship begins.
It is within this stage where the couple engages in a series of group dates, chaperoned dates or private dates. Bringing gifts or pasalubong  which may include flowers, with cards, or letters, and the like is also typical. Courting a woman in the Philippines is described as a courtship that also includes courting the woman's family. In the past, particularly in a rural courtship setting, a Filipino man, accompanied by friends, would engage in serenading the woman he adores at night.
This serenading practice was an influence adopted by the Filipinos from the Spaniards. This behavior serves as a tool in measuring the admirer's sincerity and seriousness.
The woman can also have as many suitors, from which she could choose the man that she finally would want to date. Dating couples are expected to be conservative and not perform public displays of affection for each other. Traditionally, some courtship may last a number of years before the Filipino woman accepts her suitor as a boyfriend.
This is where and when the man and his parents formally ask the lady's hand  and blessings from her parents in order to marry. This is when the formal introduction of the man's parents and woman's parents happens. Apart from presents, the Cebuano version of the pamamanhikan includes bringing in musicians.
Courtship in the Philippines
Therefore, marrying well "enhances the good name" of both families. A depiction of a mestizo couple from the Tagalog region during the 19th century. Apart from the general background explained above, there are other similar and unique courting practices adhered to by Filipinos in other different regions of the Philippine archipelago.
In the island of Luzonthe Ilocanos also perform serenading, known to them as tapat  literally, "to be in front of" the home of the courted womanwhich is similar to the harana  and also to the balagtasan of the Tagalogs.
The suitor begins singing a romantic song, then the courted lady responds by singing too. The suitor initiates, the lady responds. As the Pamamaalam stage sets in, the suitor sings one last song and the haranistas disappear in the night. Rooster courtship is also another form of courting in Luzon. In this type of courtship, the rooster is assigned that task of being a " middleman ", a "negotiator", or a "go-between", wherein the male chicken is left to stay in the home of the courted to crow every single morning for the admired lady's family.