Chinese Customs(Families, Communities, Smoking, Banquets, and Gift Giving)

By Pixie and John

Ever wish you could recieve money on New Years day, like on birthdays and winter holidays? I know i sure do. In China, customs like this are very common. Children, even fifth
These red envelops contain money and are given to children. (Celebrating Chinese New Year, Edgar Sung 2009)
These red envelops contain money and are given to children. (Celebrating Chinese New Year, Edgar Sung 2009)
graders, recieve large amounts of money in red envelopes during the New Years celebrations! Unlike the United States, this country celebrates the new year for two weeks straight. Not only does money bring families together, paying respects to family members who have passed away is very common; it is considered disrespectful if you don't. For daughters who have become distant from their families, the second day of the New Years festivities is a day for them to visit their birth parents. In China, when a young woman is married, the oppourtunity to visit birth parents and direct family does not present itself often. However, the third day is a day not to visit relatives. This day, known as red-mouth day, i
The Chinese Dragon is commonly used in parades and festivals. It is a tradition known throughout the world. (Tony Wolf 2008) Click on this picture for an awesome video!
The Chinese Dragon is commonly used in parades and festivals. It is a tradition known throughout the world. (Tony Wolf 2008) Click on this picture for an awesome video!
s famous for its tendancy for families to get in brawls and fights. Not only does family get together, but communities and people from all around the world gather together also.
Remember how just recently the Phillies won the world series and there was an incredible parade in the city? well, imagine that 100x better! The chinese communities celebrate the new year with lavish parades all around the world, even in China Town, Philadelphia! Some of the parade highlights include elaborately decorated floats, school marching bands, martial arts group, stilt walkers, lion dancers, Chinese acrobatics, the newly crowned Miss Chinatown USA and the Golden Dragon.” Families, friends and committes make floats, some designed with the Chinese Zodiac Symbols which represents each year. Examples of these are the piggy, dog and rooster. 2009 is the the year of the year of the ox. The end of the parade is
Dumplings are one of the most known Chinese foods. (All Steamed Up, Matthew Evans, 2007)
Dumplings are one of the most known Chinese foods. (All Steamed Up, Matthew Evans, 2007)
accompanied with 600,00 firecrakers. Can you imagine that view! It would be a sea of bright and neon colors. A two week long celebration would be nothing without delicious food!
Chinese cuisine is highly valued, not only for its taste, but for its symbolism too. Many foods are served because their pronunciation sounds much like the words for fortune and wealth, such as tangerines and oranges. Seafood and dumplings represent luck while Lotus seeds represent good fertility or the ability to bear children.

Over the years China has had many customs; some have strict, while others are casual once-in-a-while customs. China has a many customs like gift giving, smoking, and banquets that we Americans might find strange. Customs in China have very different rules that go along with them. Gift giving is very different in China compared to the methods and tim
“It's traditional to bring a gift when invited to someone's home.” (Common Customs of China)
“It's traditional to bring a gift when invited to someone's home.” (Common Customs of China)
es of gift giving in America.

An American would not always bring a gift if invited to a friends home for a small party, but in China it is expected every time. “It's traditional to bring a gift when invited to someone's home.” (Common Customs of China) If someone is bringing more than one gift, for example flowers, eight gifts is a good amount because eight is a lucky number in China. Also, one does not want to spend too much money on the gift or else the host will be embarrassed and will feel the need to buy a gift of the same value for the gift giver. An American might bring a gift to a party, but he wouldn’t worry about spending too much or bringing eight gifts. These rules are strange to America but are very common in China. Smoking in China also has stran
“Men in China smoke. Period. Smoking is good for business” (China’s Smoking Boom)
“Men in China smoke. Period. Smoking is good for business” (China’s Smoking Boom)
ge rules to it. As in gift giving, Americans might be surprised by China’s customs about smoking.

It is common for people to smoke in certain areas in America, but people smoke almost everywhere in China. It is highly unlikely to see women smoking. “Men in China smoke. Period. Smoking is good for business” (China’s Smoking Boom) Chinese men smoke all the time, it is good for work and gaining a client, a good way to make others feel comfortable. Men in China meet new friends by exchanging cigarettes, but in America a cigarette offered will likely be turned down. Sometimes smoking is a good way to start a conversation, but unlike China, not every man smokes. It is also considered bad for women to smoke; it is unhealthy for them, there is not much explanation as to why the health of men is not a concern, but it probably has to do with China’s long history of disliking women. China has been trying to lower smoking by taking it away from multiple restaurants, but the public is resisting. One place to see a lot of smoking is at the many banquets in China. Banquets are held all over the world to celebrate special oc
“If you're living in China you're bound to be invited to a banquet sooner or later.” (A Chinese Banquet)
“If you're living in China you're bound to be invited to a banquet sooner or later.” (A Chinese Banquet)
casions, but in China, banquets are held one after the other, they occur very often.
Banquets in China are very common; an American would not expect to have nearly as many banquets as the Chinese do. “If you're living in China you're bound to be invited to a banquet sooner or later.” (A Chinese Banquet) There are banquets for birthdays, holidays, showing off, welcomes, goodbyes, and so on. If one starts to live in China, he or she should expect to go to a banquet within the first year of moving in. There are many rules to follow in order to be polite while eating at a banquet. There is no such thing as being fashionably late like in America; guests for a banquet must arrive on time dressed casually, but no shorts. Guests are also expected to eat from each dish, not only from their favorites. They should also complement each dish as much as they can or the host will be insulted. Near the end of the meal it is polite to announce one’s self full even if he or she isn’t; the host will keep serving and offering food until one declares himself, “So stuffed, I’ll-be-sick-if-I-eat-any-more” full. An American would not expect to have to declare that he is going to feel sick for the host to stop feeding him.

The Chinese New Year is celebrated worldwide for two weeks. It is a time when family and friends celebrate their own customs and are sometimes brought together by food and traditional meals Chinese customs have proven to be challenging and strange to most Americans, but these customs are just part of daily living for the regular Chinese man. Bringing gifts for every visit, smoking only for men, and many banquets are not in the average American person’s agenda, but for the Chinese, these customs are very common and have been woven into the fabric of their culture.

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