歡迎來到中國！(Welcome to China!)
By: Alexandria Gemeinhardt
The Chinese language is the oldest written language in the world with at least six thousand years of history. Chinese character inscriptions have been found in turtle shells dating back to the Shang dynasty1 (1766-1123 BC) proving the written language has existed for more than 3,000 years. The Chinese written language uses single distinctive symbols, or characters, to represent each word of the vocabulary. The vast majority of characters are written versions of spoken sounds that have meaning. A large dictionary usually contains 40,000 characters.2 One must be able to recognize 2,000 to 3,000 characters to read a newspaper. Although the written system has been altered over time due to revolutions and political changes, the principles of the language along with the symbols and characters have remained basically the same.
Although many Chinese dialects exist, the written language is a common form of communication. Even though people are not able to verbally communicate in different provinces, they are able to understand each other in writing. However, the written language can be further subdivided into three forms: simplified, traditional, and informal slang or phonetic. There is also a form called "pin-yin" which is the Chinese language transcribed using a roman spelling.
China has been a multi-religion country since the ancient times. It is well known that Confucianism is an indigenous religion and is the soul of Chinese culture, which enjoyed popular support among people and even became the guiding ideology for feudalism society, but it did not develop into a national belief. It makes the culture more tolerant to others, thus, many other religions have been brought into the country in different dynasties, but none of them developed powerful enough in the history and they only provide diverse people more spiritual support.
According to a latest survey, 85% of Chinese people have religious beliefs or had some religious practices and only 15% of them are real atheists. (The real atheists here refer to those who do not have faith in any religions nor had any activities related to religions or folk customs.) 185 million people believe in Buddhism and 33 million have faith in Christianity and believes in the existence of God. Only 12 million people are Taoists, although more than one hundred million have taken part in Taoism activities before. Thus, it is obvious that the Buddhism has the widest influence. The other major religions are Taoism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity.
The largest festival — also called the Spring Festival — marks the beginning of the lunar new year. It falls between mid-January and mid-February and is a time to honor ancestors. During the 15-day celebration, children receive money in red envelopes for good luck and people thoroughly clean their homes to signify a fresh beginning. The holiday is marked fireworks and parades with dancers dressed as dragons.
Many people make pilgrimages to Confucius' birthplace in Shandong Province on his birthday, Sept. 28. The birthday of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, is observed by visiting Taoist temples. It falls between late March and late April. Similar celebrations mark the birthday of Mazu, the goddess of the sea (also known as Tianhou), in May or June. The Moon Festival is celebrated in September or October with fireworks, paper lanterns and moon gazing.
Cuisine can rise to many different occasions from luxury court feasts, fetes, holy sacrificial rites, joyous wedding ceremonies to simple daily meals and snacks. The art of a good cook is to provide a wholesome and satisfying dish to suit the occasion.
Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB)
Duck de Chine
To get around in this big place you'll need transportation. A big part of China’s transport system has been built since the creation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and especially since the beginning of the 80s. However, the development of the country in these transport infrastructures varies extremely according to the region, with important local disparities: bad equipment in the West of the country, in particular the Tibet, due to its reliefs, and then the Xinjiang, the Inner Mongolia and the Yunnan. The western urban regions, between the metropolises of Wuhan, Shanghai, Xi'an and Harbin are much better handed out.