Harmoniously blended, Chinese culture stretches to the corners of the world through the overseas Chinese population and influence. Described as diverse, unique, rich and profound, with 3,600 years of written history, China boasts a vast and varied geographic expanse.
As we always claim at YOKO, language and culture go hand in hand. Hence why, coinciding with the UN Chinese Language Day, observed annually on the 20th of April, today we are coming up with three unique facts about Chinese culture to pay tribute to their traditions as an invaluable asset to the world.
Calligraphy, the unmatched art form
In China, calligraphy (literally “beautiful writing”) itself is a revered and much-practiced traditional art form, that has also led to the development of many other Chinese art forms. Although calligraphy has been appreciated as an art form in many different cultures throughout the world, the stature of calligraphy in Chinese culture is unmatched. From a very early period, it was viewed as the supreme visual art form, was more valued than painting and sculpture, and ranked alongside poetry as a means of self-expression and cultivation.
Tea, or how social status can be shown
Tea is the national beverage of China, and traditionally, the way you drink tea, and which tea you drink, can show your social status. In fact, in traditional Chinese culture, tea drinkers were always considered to be elite and are highly respected by society, and drinking tea also demonstrate personal morality, education, principle and social status. Hence why serving tea gradually became an essential part of Chinese social life. Today, having a pot of tea when visitors come around is the typical way of welcoming said visitors. Curiously, it is also a sign of respect to serve someone tea — a younger person can show respect and thanks to an older person by offering them a cup of tea.
Fortune cookies, everywhere but in China
While Chinese restaurants all over the world serve fortune cookies, the ones in China don’t. Yes, that’s right. They’re so common, you might take them for granted. However, according to TIME, when one of the biggest purveyors of fortune cookies, Wonton Food Inc., tried to do business in China in the 1990s, diners kept eating the fortunes by mistake! They found the idea didn’t quite translate. Fortune cookies have indeed, remained a distinctly American phenomenon.
Can you think of any other interesting culture fact about China? Leave us a comment below!
Happy Chinese Language Day to you all!