Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions >> Cultural Traditions China
Unlike the United States which is 200 plus years old, China is
an ancient country and civilization. This has led to long standing rules of
conduct in society that are of great interest.
China is an ancient country, with thousands of years of history which lay a rich basis for the lives of its inhabitants today. While some of the ancient Chinese myths and cultural traditions have been forgotten or are no longer observed, many of them are still remembered and incorporated into everyday life. Taking a look into the cultural traditions of China can reveal a lot about the way that the people live.
One of the most interesting bits of Chinese lore can be found in what is known as the Jade Culture. Jade is a stone that was first identified in the first Chinese dictionary, known as Shuo Wen Jie Zi, in around 100 AD. There are two types of jade: soft jade, known as nephrite, which is native to China, and hard jade (jadeite) which was imported from Burma starting in the 1200's. Jade is important in China not only because of its beauty, but also for its virtue and cultural significance. Confucius said that jade had 11 virtues, some of which include the fact that it stands for beauty, purity and grace. The Chinese character for jade, Yu, is often used in names and sayings to connote beauty.
Another of the many Chinese cultural traditions is the bamboo culture. Bamboo is one of four favorite plants seen in China – they are bamboo, Chinese plum, chrysanthemum and orchid. The characters of these plants are highly prized, so much so that Chinese people want to be like the plants in character. Bamboo is grown pretty much everywhere in China, with most people having gardens in which they grow bamboo. Bamboo chopsticks are the most common form of tableware in China, and bamboo is also the material out of which the Chinese flute is made. People often use bamboo paintbrushes, and bamboo culture festivals are even held throughout the year.
A final cultural tradition can be seen in the dragon culture. Dragons are an important part of Chinese tradition, so much so that people from China often consider themselves to be “the descendants of the dragon”. China's emperors believed that they truly were dragons, calling the beds they slept on dragon beds, and even their robes dragon robes. Dragons are also seen all over the imperial palaces, and dragon screens are seen as a symbol of the emperor's power.
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