The Profound History of China

City in China
China Brides Caption logoDiscover China’s rich history and culture

The history of China is long and varied. China, as a country, has gone through quite a lot of changes. Stewardship of the land has changed hands dozens of times, going from one monarch to the next, one dynasty to another. At one point, it was part of the Mongol Empire. Parts of it have been occupied by European countries, such as Britain and Portugal, and it’s Asian neighbor, Japan, at various points in its history.

In fact, the colonial past informs a lot of modern Chinese culture. For example, one of China’s biggest tourism hotspots is the city of Macao, one of the world’s largest cities for gambling. Tourists who visit might be somewhat blindsided by all of the Portuguese signs, food, and street names there are. But Macao was a Portuguese colony.

The twentieth century had a profound impact on the course of Chinese history. Towards the middle of the century, war broke out between communists and nationalists. This war was interrupted by the Second World War, during which Imperial Japan invaded China.

Those twentieth-century military conflicts continue to influence diplomatic relations within modern China today.

China’s Culture and Traditions

China is one of the most modern forward-thinking countries in the world today. The infrastructure can seem futuristic. It’s continued economic growth has led to a population that is not only technologically-savvy but also armed with disposable income, many of them which are more than happy to spend on luxury goods from brands both foreign and local.

However, traditional Chinese culture and values still dictate much of Chinese society even in the modern day. Many buildings, even in the modern metropolises, such as the aforementioned Macao, will not have a 4th floor. 4 is an unlucky number in China, since both the written character and the spoken word for it are similar to death.

Colors also play an important role in Chinese culture and traditions. Red is the color of celebration in China and is supposed to bring about good fortune. For this reason, many Chinese wear red during their celebrations. Chinese New Year is particularly littered with red. Many of the lanterns are red, as are the envelopes full of money that many Chinese children look forward to receiving.

The color yellow is often associated with cowardice and inaction in the West. But the color holds the exact opposite meaning in the Chinese values and traditions, being the color of bravery and heroism. In fact, yellow is considered the most prestigious of all colors. The mythological monarch of heaven is even sometimes referred to as the Yellow Emperor.

Black is the color of heaven in traditional Chinese mythology, as black is the color of the universe and is thus unknowable in the same way the heaven is unknowable.

Green is the color of health in China, though a green hat is also a euphemism for a man who has been on the receiving end of infidelity.

White is the color of death in China. While Western black suits are popping up more and more at funerals, those who ascribe to the old tradition still wear white garments when burying or interring a person.

China also has a zodiac system with different animals corresponding to different years. Depending on the year itself, there may also be a corresponding element associated with the animal. The elements are the earth, wood, water, fire, and metal and they have proven to be important motifs throughout the history of China.

Religious Principles of Chinese People

The current ruling political party of China espouses state atheism wherein religion does not factor into the political discourse.

That said, the people who comprise the People’s Republic are largely irreligious. Buddhism is the most prominent organized religion, with about 8% of the population ascribing to it. However, many Chinese people practice ancestor veneration. There are also many people within China who hold no formal ties to any church or temple, but still practice.

Many of the former European colonies do have a rather large presence in Western religious institutions. This is because the people there have been influenced by their former colonizers and because those cities often attract tourists and expats from Western countries.

Household Customs of Chinese Women

The answers to the question of what is traditional Chinese culture can be found in its people. Specifically, it can be found in women.

For example, daughters are as unlikely to inherit as sons, if they inherit anything at all. In fact, many families will often pass the biggest bulk of a fortune to a single son, the Number One Son that’s been designated heir.

But Chinese women do play an important role in society. For example, many families with a deceased grandfather will often have their grandmother act as a matriarch whose word is law and cannot and should not be openly questioned, let alone defied.

In Chinese society, women are now free to live their own lives and pursue their own passions and their own careers. But there are also many women who still follow traditional customs and defer to their husbands or other male authority figures. Women have played an important role in the household all throughout the history of China.

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