Chinese Culture and History
Chinese Culture – made easy!
Scroll down for an index of the most interesting Chinese Culture articles.
In the eyes of most Westerners, China is fascinating and strange, as foreign and as far away from home as one can possibly get. Some aspects of Chinese culture have spread to every corner of the world – Chinese food and martial arts, whilst others remain relatively mysterious – Confucianism and calligraphy.
Chinese Culture – Developing in isolation
Chinese culture developed in isolation from the rest of the world, protected by the Himalayas, the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts, rainforests to the South and Siberian winters to the North. Therefore it grew up distinctly different from the rest of the world – that’s what makes China such an interesting place.
Chinese Culture: Regional Variations
In many aspects of Chinese culture, there are distinct regional variations – the most obvious example is food, but there are others too. Everybody knows about Beijing Opera, but there are hundreds of different kinds of Chinese Opera – Beijing Opera is just one.
Chinese Culture – Chinese Religion
Chinese religion, philosophy and culture are tightly intertwined. Chinese beliefs have always been a part of Chinese culture more than they have been part of any one religion or philosophy. Traditional Chinese religion blended the ‘three great teachings’ of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism with even older local religious beliefs.
Chinese Culture – Chinese History
Chinese people like to boast that they have the longest history of any civilisation on earth. Many elements of Chinese culture (characters, dragons, jade) can be traced back over 5,000 years.
Chinese history has been the story of the rise and fall of dynasties – periods of relative stability when the dynasty was strong intersperesed with years or even decades of war as the dynasty crumbled and fell.
Chinese Culture – Society
Chinese society has been through immense changes in recent years. Within living memory Beijing has seen civil war, virtual famine during the Great Leap Forward, the madness of the Cultural Revolution, the imposition of the one child policy, and the transition from centralised economy to rampant capitalism.
A little knowledge of Chinese culture will make your trip to Beijing a lot more worthwhile.
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What to see and do around Beijing
Wonder at the Great Wall, be awed by the magnificent Forbidden City, drink in the scenery from a boat on the Summer Palace’s Kunming Lake.