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Culture is a function of various elements, including food, language, rituals, and social structures. China has a very large population, which makes it interesting to study its norms and cultural values. The development of knowledge about culture reveals some of the manifestations of a given society. For instance, there are certain unique elements of the culture portrayed by the Chinese people, which distinguish them from other societies in the world. Language is one of the major elements of culture that provides a clear distinction between one cultural group and the others. Chinese culture is one of the oldest cultures, as evidenced by the presence of numerous writings from the past, highlighting some of the elements of the culture. While some of the norms in Chinese society have faced fundamental changes over the years, there are some that have survived through the centuries. This paper looks into the Chines culture, with a close focus on class, culture, assimilation, foods, and the rituals associated with the Chinese people.
Since the Qin Dynasty, the Chines society has always been keen on the development of clear boundaries for different classes. Class in the society is associated with a high influence on the development plans and decisions of the society, and it is apparent that the highest class has always been associated with a high level of income. Traditionally, the Chinese society comprised of three social classes, including the upper class, which was made of landlords, the middle class was comprised of merchants and craftsmen, while the lower class was made of the peasant. This structure of the society is still in effect, but recent social and economic developments have seen an exponential increase in the number of Chinese people in the middle class. Ironically, the middle class in the society has a higher bargaining power on social, economic, and political issues in China.
Chinese culture is clearly highlighted in the heritage of society. The Chinese heritage is seen through the religious groups in the nation. Buddhism is the most popular religion in society because it was among the first religions to spread to Asia from India. Taoism is also very popular in this society because it is native to the Chinese people. Islam has also spread into China from various Arab nations. There are also about 10 million Christians in China (Religions in China, 2016). The presence of different religious groups indicates that the Chinese culture is associated with a strong belief in spiritual growth among the people.
The Chinese culture is also highlighted by the oriental architecture that has been passed from one generation to the next. Most of the structures in Chinese society are single buildings that are designed artistically to highlight features of religion and art from various periods in history. The buildings in China have traditionally been designed with wood, bricks, and stones. While the quality of the building material has increased over the centuries, the structures are fairly similar in design, which gives the Chinese people a link with the previous generations. However, modern society in China has also demonstrated the willingness to adopt architectural designs from the Western nations (Chinese Architecture, 2016). These designs are incorporated into designs that are dominantly Chinese.
The Chinese language is one of the most popular languages in the world, and it is associated with different sub-groups of languages, which are differentiated by the use of specific words, dialect, and elements of speech. However, the national language of China is Chinese, and it is understood by every native member of society (Chinese language, 2016). The Chinese language is a rich language when considering the many languages that consolidate to form the Chinese language.
The Chinese culture, just like many other major cultures across the world, is a result of the interplay between various assimilated cultures. The interaction between the Chinese people and other societies in the past led to the development of new norms in different aspects of culture. For instance, the various religious groups in the nation were assimilated from different parts of the world. For instance, Buddhism was assimilated from the Indians, Islam from the Arabs, and Christianity from the Roman Empire (Religions in China, 2016). It is apparent that the Chinese people have been assimilating various elements of their culture from different parts of the world, and the current trends in globalization are bound to result in a higher rate of assimilating different elements of culture from the Western societies. This has already been demonstrated by the fact that Chinese architects have been incorporating Western designs in their artistic structures. Additionally, the Chinese language is associated with the assimilation of various words and phrases from other minor languages in society.
The Chinese people are associated with a high preference for foods prepared artistically. The Chinese people have traditionally embraced the development of recipes that take a long time to prepare, and they require a certain level of expertise to provide the required presentation of the food. It is apparent that the traditional foods of the Chinese people are normally served in small portions because of the amount of time that is required to prepare them, and the need to gather several rare spices to prepare the meals. Chinese food is particularly associated with the need for the development of high nutritional value because they are served in very small portions. Additionally, the Chinese people have a high preference for foods served either extremely hot or cold. For instance, there are vegetable dishes that are served cold in every meal. The Chinese people also have a high liking for noodles. Since the different foods are eaten with chopsticks or wooden spoons, it is quite helpful for the foods to be processed into noodles (Foster, 2015). For instance, the Chinese people enjoy the popular spinach noodle, which is a blend of different ingredients, with spinach being the main ingredient.
Most cultural groups are associated with the development of unique rituals when conducting different activities such as special prayers, funerals, and other religious rituals. The Chinese people observe various rituals, but there is a clear pattern that the people portrayed in every ritual. For instance, every ritual is associated with the presence of special attires. For instance, when the Chinese people are mourning a relative, they always wear special clothes for the mourning period and the funeral. Attending religious rituals is also associated with the need to wear special clothes. The Chinese people are very superstitious, and they hold numerous rituals related to their daily activities.
The society is particularly associated with a high level of respect for specific dates that remind them of their past and heritage. The superstitious nature of the Chinese people is also seen through their selection of colors in houses and business premises. There are some colors that are linked to various beliefs. This implies that during the rituals, the people have to avoid certain colors while emphasizing others. The religious rituals among the people depend on the doctrines of the respective religious groups. However, it is apparent that most of the Chinese people share the belief that heavenly bodies have an influence on their lives (Ancient rituals, 2015). Chinese people also have various rituals that involve worshipping the earth. The rituals are particularly always inclined toward showing certain levels of respect to fire, soil, and water.
Rituals in this society begin at birth, whereby a newborn child is taken through several rituals aimed at providing them with protection from evil spirits. The rituals continue through to the time when the child comes of age, and he or she participates in a ritual to welcome them to adulthood. Social rituals include good luck sacrifices, which entail casting out evil spirits (Ancient rituals, 2015). The Chinese people also have traditional weddings that follow different rituals for different tribes. The essence of the rituals is to uphold the beliefs and norms of the respective tribes, and the various procedures associated with the rituals have been passed from one generation to the other. The elderly people in the Chinese society are charged with the responsibility of presiding over the different rituals because the people believe that the elderly have a closer connection with the spirits and the gods. Their wisdom also plays a major role in providing guidance to the rest of the society.
Culture encompasses several elements such as food, language, rituals, and social structures. China is one of the countries with unique and diverse norms and cultural values. It is apparent that the Chinese society is divided along social classes and culture is an integral aspect of its heritage. Additionally, the Chinese culture has assimilated different cultures with the interaction of the Chinese people with other societies. The Chinese foods are prepared artistically based on comprehensive recipes and require expertise in the food presentation. Further, most cultural groups have developed unique rituals associated with different activities that include funerals, special prayers, and other religious rituals.
Ancient rituals. (2015). Web.
Chinese Architecture. (2016). Web.
Chinese language. (2016). Web.
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Foster, J. S. (2015). 12 traditional Chinese foods you’ve got to try. Web.
Religions in China. (2016). Web.