Chinese Birthday Traditions

Many people in the United States hold big celebrations for various milestone birthdays including a sweet sixteen where they can get their driver’s license, a bar crawl when they can legally drink on their 21st birthday, and smaller parties as they get older with their family and close friends. In China though, traditional birthday celebrations differ. Traditionally, Chinese people do not pay much attention to birthday celebrations until a person turns 60 years old. Sixty years is considered a cycle of life in Chinese culture, so the 60th birthday is regarded as very important and is celebrated with a big party. Chinese culture expects a person to have a big family filled with children and grandchildren by 60 years old, and therefore see it as an age to be proud of.

A person’s 61st year is seen as the beginning of a new life cycle. After the 60th birthday, celebrations are held every 10 years up until the person’s death, and generally, the older a person is the grander their birthday celebration is.

Sixtieth birthday parties can be large or small, but no matter the size the celebrations meal always includes peaches and noodles, which are the signs of a long life. When the noodles are cooked they cannot be cut short. Shortened noodles are thought to have bad implications. Although the celebrations are said to include peaches, the peaches, in fact, are not real. Steamed wheaten food with a sweet stuffing are called peaches because they are made in the same shape. Everyone at the party must eat the food as a sign of well wishes to the guest of honor.

If you’re planning on attending a traditional Chinese birthday party typical presents usually include two or four eggs, long noodles, artificial peaches, tonics, wine and money in red paper.

Besides the 60th birthday, some families in China also place importance on celebrating the third and twelfth birthdays for children. A child’s twelfth birthday celebration includes the birthday boy or girls friends and their parents. It is similar to a wedding ceremony with a delicious banquet and speeches by guests at the party.

Although many in China celebrate birthdays with the previously mentioned traditions, many Chinese people now seem to be following American birthday customs. Cakes with candles to represent how old a person is turning are becoming more common, along with making a wish when blowing out the candles. This is quickly becoming regarded as the best part of the birthday party.

What is your favorite birthday tradition? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to know more about birthday traditions around the world? Check out Savoir-Vivre, coming soon to www.scola.org!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Google+ | YouTube

Housing Arrangements in China

Last week we shared with you Dating and Marriage Traditions in China, so it only makes sense that this week we talk to you about what happens after marriage. What are the housing arrangements of the married couple? Who do they live with? Our provider from China shares the following:

            For the CPP-CN-Beijing Parliament Buildinghinese people, family is very sacred, so the Chinese always have their family at the forefront of their mind wherever they go or wherever they are. In the past, Chinese people enjoyed living as one big family, where sometimes even as many as four generations lived together in the same home. Similar to a small community, there were distinct classes in these extended families. The eldest always enjoyed the highest status.

         Just like any other community, these living conditions could not properly function without any discipline. People in China often say “A family has its own rules just as a state has its own laws.” Under these past, traditional housing arrangements some of these laws included the husband being permitted to beat their wives, the father being permitted to beat their sons, and parents were in charge of the daily life of their children, including their marriages. Also, in these small communities each clan had its own ancestral shrine, where their ancestors were offered sacrifices and worshiped. Every member of the family was obligated to honor their ancestors.

            These days, things are quite different. The extended family housing arrangements have been replaced and small/core family housing arrangements have become more mainstream. Correspondingly, the lifestyle of the people has changed greatly, but their sentimental attachment to their family and the importance they place on family has remained unchanged.

Want to know more about housing arrangements in China and other countries? Check out Savoir-Vivre, coming soon to www.scola.org!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Google+ | YouTube

 

China: Making Learning (Even More) Fun

For your entertainment, SCOLA has acquired a few more jokes to share with you from China. It is safe to say this has been our funniest Country of the Month yet!
儿子战战兢兢地回到家:“爸,今天考试只得了60分”。爸爸很生气:“下次再考低了,就别叫我爸!” 第二天儿子回来了:“对不起,哥!”
One day, a boy did poorly on his test at school. He went home after and nervously said, “Dad, I only got a 60% on the test today.” His dad was very angry and said “Don’t call me dad if you ever do that bad again!”The next day the son came home after school and said “Sorry brother!”
农夫向医生诉苦,说他晚上上床后常觉得脚冷。是,医生说:我也常常有这种现象,那时我就会搂著太太,这样脚就会暖和来!这个农夫鼓起很大的勇气说:这是一个很好的办法,但是--你太太什麼时候才方便?
A farmer complained to a doctor that his feet always got cold while sleeping at night. “Yes,” the doctor said,“I myself used to feel that way too. Now, I hug my wife tightly to make my feet warm.” The farmer thought about this for a while and finally asked with great bravery “That is really good thinking. The problem is, when will your wife be available?”
A man said to his wife “Dear I haven’t had a thrilling experience in a long time.” The next day she took him to a jewelry store.
A woman wanted a fur coat as a birthday present. She said to her husband, “Dear, my birthday is coming up. Don’t you want to go and see those fluffy things for me?” The husband slaps his thigh and said “That’s a good idea! Let’s go right now or the zoo will be closed!”
A husband said to his wife “Since we have been married, I have realized that marriage is a heavy job!” His wife said “Of course, that is why two people have to share it.” The husband asked tentatively “So don’t you think we would feel more relaxed if there were three people?”
A husband said to his wife “I appreciated your praise tonight when you told the neighbors I was talented.” The wife said “You have neither money nor position and your looks are very plain. If I hadn’t told such a lie other people would laugh at me!”

Want more jokes? Let us know which country you would like to hear a joke from in the comments below!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Google+ | YouTube

China: Making Learning Fun

As we begin our Chinese adventure, you may start to notice the perks of following our SCOLA Country of the Month. Each month, followers can learn traditional international recipes, vocabulary in native languages, and compare their countries climate and geography to that of the Country of the Month.  This month is full of good luck, as our providers in China have sent along something extra.

The Chinese providers are making the March Country of the Month not only educational, but also entertaining! The Chinese providers have sent in traditional recipes to make your mouths water, fascinating clips of Huangshan Mountain to captivate your mind, and unlike any other Country of the Month before them, jokes to tickle your funny bone!  The jokes they sent will not only give you insight into their culture and the holidays they celebrate, but will make you laugh as well! Enjoy!

The first Chinese joke we will share is about Qingming Festival. Qingming Festival will be celebrated April 5th, 2014 in China. The Chinese enjoy a day off of work to worship their ancestors. According to Chinese customs, people visit the tombs with gifts for their ancestors to enjoy in the other world including fruit, wine, flowers, food, and paper money. They put the food, fruit, and flowers in front of the tomb. They spray the wine and burn the paper money so it rises to their ancestors. They also put fresh soil to cover the tomb, and plant twigs around the tomb. The Qingming Festival is also one of 24 solar terms in China.

Qingming Festival (Memorial) is coming up so a man went to an offerings shop to buy sacrificial offerings. There he saw some paper Apple phones. He felt very strange. He said, “Aha, but if I burn an Apple phone, how will my ancestors know how to use it?” The shop owner said,”Steve Jobs is already there to teach them, why are you worried?” Appeased, the man bought one. The shop owner then reminded him, “You should buy a charger, you don’t want them to ask you to deliver a charger there do you?” When the man checked out he said “May I have your business card? The shop owner asked why, and the man said “I will burn your business card with the offerings to my ancestors, that way if the phone has any problems they can come looking for you!”

The next joke is about Valentine’s Day in China.  As in the United States, Valentine’s Day was also celebrated on February 14th in China. The Lantern Festival in China also fell on Valentine’s Day this year! The night of the Lantern Festival, people in China enjoy the first full moon of the year. It is a family holiday, where they gather together and eat sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice flour filled with sweet ingredients like sesame and peanut.

On the night of the Lantern Festival families go to parks or public squares to watch lanterns in different shapes and sizes. The lanterns are different shapes and designs, some made to look like special characters or historical figures. The sky is colored red with lanterns. People also write riddles on the covers of the lanterns or on pieces of paper hanging from the lanterns. Young children are carried on the shoulders of their fathers, the old are supported by the young, and the young forget the year of hard work. Children’s laughs and screams of excitement can be heard throughout the night.

SCOLA’s friend from China tells us “It is interesting that your holiday and our Lantern Festival happen on the same day in China. Our Lantern Festival is also a holiday for love in many places in China. People in Hainan Island will exchange flowers for love, or express good will…Today if you receive flowers,you spend today as Valentine’s Day, if you receive sweet dumplings, you consider it Lantern Festival, if you receive nothing, just consider it Friday!”

A Chinese man asks his brother what he thinks of Valentine’s Day. His brother answers “Valentine’s Day? Oh, let me think. It is the same as Tomb-Sweeping Day (the Chinese Festival on April 5, to memorize the ancestors). Giving flowers and food and saying something sweet to make the ghost happy.” The man replies “Younger brother, you are wrong. The conversation on Tomb-Sweeping Day is a conversation between humans and ghosts in the human language, but the conversations on Valentine’s Day are between two humans in a ghost language.” The brother says “We cannot regard money as important, but buying reasonable gifts and flowers is ok. The Valentine’s Day is short, by the time you blink it passes. But if you don’t buy gifts and flowers, that day is so long, and difficult. Do you know the worst thing about Valentine’s Day? Do you? It is when the gifts are not ready!” The man replies “No, the worst thing about Valentine’s Day is when the gift is ready, but you have no lover!” His brother says “ Brother, that is not a big deal. The most miserable thing is that the gifts are ready, and the lover is ready, but your wife finds out!” The man laughs and says “Nonsense, the most miserable thing is that the gift is ready and you take it home for your wife, and sadly discover she is out spending Valentine’s Day with her lover!”

And last but not least:

A man received a text from his neighbor: “Sorry that I have been using your wife, I have been using day and night, and whenever you are not at home. In fact, I have been using more than you do.I confess to you because I feel guilty.I hope you will accept my sincere apology.”The man went home and fought with his wife.A few minutes later he received a text,”Sorry ,I typed wrong, it is not wife, it is your WIFI!”

Do you have a joke from your culture or country you would like to share with SCOLA? Post it in the comments below!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | LinkedIn| Google+ | YouTube

Your Upcoming Travel Itinerary

SCOLA and China Yellow River Television have been shortening the distance between McClelland and Taiyuan for 23 years, and next month, China is coming to you! If you follow our social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, you may have noticed each month SCOLA presents a “Country of the Month”. Our social media followers can learn a lot about countries around the world such as traditional recipes, typical weather conditions, and a vocabulary word in the country’s native language.

In May 2013, our journey began in the country of Morocco and this March, followers have the opportunity to visit China…from the comfort of their own home! The country has interested viewers with programming on World TV Online, readers with magazines and newspapers on Foreign Text, and learners with lessons on Insta-Class. Featuring China as our Country of the Month will give people that do not already subscribe to SCOLA a small preview of the authentic Chinese resources SCOLA has to offer.

At the end of the month, you may find yourself wanting more information about the country and not ready to move on to the next one. Our website has additional resources from every country we visit for the SCOLA Country of the Month.  Want to know more traditional recipes from Nigeria? Check out Savoir-Vivre, coming soon to www.scola.org! Want to learn more Czech vocabulary? Check out Insta-Class or Specialized Word Video Search! Come see for yourself that the Country of the Month features only a small portion of the material SCOLA offers to subscribers.

Is there a country you would like to see featured as the Country of the Month? Let us know in the comments below!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest |Google+| LinkedIn | YouTube