FESTIVALS DANCES TRADITIONAL COSTUMES ACROBATS’ SHOW PEKIN OPERA RELIGIOUS CUSTOMS LOCAL BELIEFS
Chinese music, dance and opera, as well as the culture and customs of ethnic minorities are treasure stores of tourism resources. During the long course of historical development, China’s different peoples have developed individual customs in response to their own particular environments, social conditions and level of economic development. China’s folklore is especially gorgeous and attractive. There are more than 40 yearly famous festivals. Besides, every ethnic minority group has its own celebrations.
Spring Festival before Chinese Year Dragon Boat Festival Chinese Lantern Festival Kite Festival in Pekin Lion Dance Festival in Hong Kong
The Spring Festival (or the Chinese New Year) is the most important event for the Chinese. The Spring Festival is on Feb. 5th. Traditionally it begins with the practice of offering a sacrifice to the Kitchen God, sent from Heaven to each family to take charge of family's affairs and make a report on what the family has done in the past year. So, Chinese people make a lotus root-like sticky cake to prevent the Kitchen God from speaking ill of the family in Heaven by sticking his mouth. This tradition is still observed in some areas of countryside.
Dragon Boat Festival is called Duan Wu Jie in Chinese. It’s celebrated on the 5th of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar to commemorate the death of a great patriot poet, Qu Yuan. People are reminded the importance of loyalty and commitment to the community by the festival. He served in the court of Emperor Huai during the Warring States (475 - 221 BC). He was a wise and erudite man but his ability and fight against corruption antagonized other court officials. Thus, they exerted their evil influence on the Emperor who dismissed Qu Yuan and eventually exiled him. He traveled extensively, taught and wrote about his ideas. However, when he heard that his State was defeated by another State, he was so despaired that ended his life by flinging himself into the Miluo River. People threw food into the river to feed fish because they hoped to salvage his body.
The Lantern Festival or Yuanxiao Jie is a traditional Chinese festival, which is on the 15th of the first month of the Chinese New Year. The festival marks the end of the celebrations of the Chinese New Year. On the night of the festival, people go on streets with a variety of lanterns under the full moon, watching lions or dragon dancing, playing Chinese riddles and games, and lighting up firecrackers. Glutinous rice ball or Tangyuan is the special food for the Lantern Festival symbolizing family unity, completeness and happiness. It is a kind of sweet dumpling, which is made with sticky rice flour filled with sweet stuffing.
KITE FESTIVAL IN PEKIN Every year in May local people fly colourful kites to bring their children good health, strength and courage. This tradition started many years ago when the lord of the region sent a huge kite into the sky with his child’s name on it. People put on costumes embroidered with elaborate designs to match the ones on their kites. The atmoshere is fantastic. People keep waving flags, banding drums, playing trumpets and blowing whistles. It’sa stunning show.
Buddhists believe that nothing is permanent, and on 9th March they celebrate this belief. Long before the festival begins, monks make their preparations by mixing brightly- coloured dyes into huge quantities of iced butter. It takes them several months to carve the frozen butter into highly decorated statues, some as much as 8 m high. On the day of the festival itself, the sculptures- supported by wooden frames – are carried through the streets and greeted with cheers from the excited crowds. Afterwards, the figures are thrown into the river by the monks who made them to demonstrate the idea that not even the most beautiful things last forever.
Dai’s Washing- Sprinkling Festival Qigong performance Tianjin Culture Festival (stilts)
There are 55 ethnic minority groups and each of them preserved their local dances.
Acrobats have been folk entertainment since ancient times. The centre for modern acrobatics is Wuqiao in Hebei Province, where a large number of the residents are born acrobats, who walk around the street juggling or balancing tools on their heads. There are regular shows in Beijing and Shanghai, while troupes perform occasionally in other cities. Chinese acrobatics are among the best in the world and transcend language barriers. Performances are exhilarating, with expert acrobats balancing on eight or ten stacked tables while juggling, singing, and dancing.
A form of music drama often called Chinese opera is found on every city's cultural menu. Most local forms of opera offer dance or acrobats, while Beijing opera (jingxi) combines dance, song, mime, acrobatics, and dialogue and is the form most familiar in the West. It's not necessary to understand the language to appreciate this visually stunning art form. In fact, Chinese audience members sometimes require projected subtitles.
China is a multi-religious country. Buddhism, Islamism, Catholicism Christianity, and China indigenous Taoism, as well as Shamanism, Eastern orthodox Christanity and the Naxi people’s Dongba religion, have developed in China. Freedom of belief is a government policy, and normal religious activites are protected by the Constitution. Officially, People’s Republic of China is an atheist country.
Before the Communist Revolution, a number of religious and philosophical systems were practised in China. Traditionally Taoism and Confucianism provided ethical guides to the proper behavior of individuals and officials. Both of these systems originated in China during the so-called Golden Age of Chinese thought, several centuries before the beginning of the Christian era. Taoism sought to promote the inner peace of individuals and harmony with their surroundings. Taoism speaks of a permanent Tao in the way that some Western religions speak of God. The Tao is considered unnamed and unknowable, the essential unifying element of all that is. Confucianism, based on the teachings and writings of the philosopher Confucius, is an ethical system that sought to teach the proper way for all people to behave in society. Each relationship--husband-wife, parents-children, ruler- subjects--involved a set of obligations which, if upheld, would lead to a just and harmonious society. Following his teachings would also promote a stable, lasting government. RELIGION IN GENERAL
Dhvaja Banner - the victory of the Buddha's teachings.
BUDDHISM Buddhism, which came to China from India as early as the 1st century AD, was a more conventional religion. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, a prince of the Sakya kingdom on the borders of what are now India and Nepal. One day he left the palace and saw so many poor people that decided to help them. Intent on finding relief for human suffering, he received a moment of enlightenment while meditating under a Bo tree. The Buddha taught that desires are the source of pain, and that by overcoming desires, pain can be eliminated. To this end, he advocated meditation and pursuing the Eightfold Path, similar to the Ten Commandments of Judaism and Christianity. The objective was to reach Nirvana, the condition of serenity of spirit, where all cravings, strife, and pain have been overcome, giving way to a merging of the spirit with eternal harmony. It has been estimated that more than 68 million Chinese still consider themselves Buddhists, though it is unlikely that they practise the religion regularly. 5 basic Commandments: 1.No killing 2.No stealing 3.No sexual misconduct 4.No lying 5.No abuse of drugs and alcohol
4 - Brings bad luck; is associated with death 8 - Brings good luck Generally even numbers have positive connotation, whereas odd numbers sound negative.
GIVING GIFTS Gifts are given in pairs as odd numbers are thought to be unfortunate. In Central China, if a baby is born, his father will send Red Boiled Eggs to announce the news. An even number, usually six or eight Red Boiled Eggs with a black point dotted on one end will be delivered for a boy and an odd number, usually five or seven without black point for a girl.
BELIEFS ABOUT NEWLY- BORN KIDS It is traditionally believed in China that the world is made up of five principal elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. A person's name is to include an element that he lacks in his Eight Characters. If he lacks water, for example, then his name is supposed to contain a word like river, lake, tide, sea, stream, rain, or any word associating with water. If he lacks metal, then he is to be given a word like gold, silver, iron, or steel. The Chinese think a name may somehow determine the future of the child. Therefore, all possible factors must be taken into account when they are naming their children.
FINAL REMARKS We should preserve our traditions and cultivate local customs as they are the link between the past and present times, Give a sense of uniting between generations and/or a feeling of belonging to a nation – especially useful for emigrants in a new place. Thanks to their folklor, bring colours to our life and emphasize cultural diversity of various countries.
USEFUL PHRASES 1.SHOW MISCONDUCT 2.FOSTER GOOD LUCK 3.EVEN AND ODD NUMBERS 4.TAKE INTO ACCOUNT VARIOUS FACTORS 5.VISUALLY STUNNING ART FORM 6.SYMBOLIZNIG FAMILY UNITY AND HAPPINESS 7.FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION 8.REMIND OF LOYALTY 9.BE AN ADVOCATE OF STH 10.EMPHASIZE CULTURAL DIVERSITY 11.PROMOTE=PROPAGATE IDEAS 12.PRESERVE NATIVE CULTURE 13.CULTIVATE CUSTOMS 14.COMMEMORATE THIS EVENT 1.POKAZYWAĆ ZŁE POSTĘPOWANIE 2.SPRZYJAĆ SZCZĘŚCIU 3.PARZYSTE I NIEPARZYSTE LICZBY 4.BRAĆ POD UWAGĘ RÓŻNE CZYNNIKI 5.WIZUALNIE OLŚNIEWAJĄCA FORMA ARTYSTYCZNA 6.SYMBOLIZUJĄC JEDNOŚĆ RODZINNA I SZCZĘŚCIE 7.WALKA Z KORUPCJĄ 8.PRZYPOMINAĆ ZNACZENIE LOJALNOŚCI 9.BYĆ ZWOLENNIKIEM 10.PODKREŚLAĆ RÓŻNORODNOŚĆ KULTUROWĄ 11.PROMOWAC IDEE 12.ZACHOWYWAĆ RDZENNE KULTURY 13.PIELĘGNOWAĆ ZWYCZAJE 14.UPAMIĘTNIAĆ TO WYDARZENIE
AUTHORS: Marlena Miga Danuta Mirońska European Club I Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace Mielce, Poland