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BITS OF CULTURE - China
 
Languages
Map
Cultural Values
Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
Health Care Values
Diet
Interesting Facts
 

Languages

Official language:
Mandarin (Putonghua)

Other languages:
Cantonese


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Map



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Cultural Values
  • Privacy is very important; Chinese people are very modest, specially women .
  • Chinese language is very expressive and often appears loud to non-Chinese people
  • Often this loudness is carried through to English and may seem abrupt
  • Use of 1st name is viewed as disrespectful among older individuals
  • Extended family common in same household
    Males usually more highly respected than females, and are responsible for making the family decisions
  • Red is central to the wedding theme of China. It signifies love, joy and prosperity. The bride's wedding gown is often red, as are the wedding invitations, wedding gift boxes or envelopes for cash gifts. Even the bride and groom's homes are decorated in red on the wedding day
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Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
  • Buddhism
  • Family may prefer patient not to be told of terminal illness
  • Many believe dying at home brings bad luck; others believe the spirit will be lost if death occurs in hospital
  • Special amulets and cloths may be brought from home to place on the body
  • If Buddhist, the body may be bathe after death and dressed in special clothes.
  • If Taoist, the body may be placed with the head facing south and cleansed with a white cloth.
  • Belief that the body should be kept intact, therefore do not favor organ donations or autopsies

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Health Care Values
  • Illness caused by imbalance of Yen and Yang in body
  • Genetic defects typically blamed on mother for something she did or ate
  • Promoting good health means one should eat a diet balanced with Yin and Yang foods
  • Important also to maintain harmony with friends and family
  • Many Chinese use home remedies such as ginseng root for minor ailments; they seek Western medicine for more serious illness
  • They seek advise for decision making from friends and relatives
  • Mental health and depression viewed as shameful and not readily discussed
  • They believe cold water shocks the system
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Diet
  • Usually 3 meals, the largest dinner
  • Chopsticks are used to eat; children as young as one will become used to using them
  • Rice and noodles important staples
  • Broken down into Northern and Southern styles of cooking. Northern dishes uses more noodles, whereas southern dishes are usually accompanied by rice.
  • Snake soup is among the most treasured soups in China.



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Interesting Facts
  • Calligraphy is one of China’s highest forms of art.
  • The oldest standing astronomical observatory, located southeast of Dengfeng in China, was built in 1279 under the Yuan Dynasty.
  • The purpose of the Great Wall of China, was not especially to keep out the Huns from the north. It was so they couldn't get their horses across. Without their horses, they weren't very effective warriors.
  • Fingerprinting was used in China as early as 700 A.D.
  • Paper was invented in China around 105 A.D., by an eunuch named Ts'ai Lun.


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