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Learning about China and Chinese Culture May 21, 2012

Posted by Richard E. Ward in China.
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I have found that all of our clients are interested in learning about Chinese culture and customs as well as learning to speak Chinese.

Chinese culture is rich and profound. It has the richest historical records. Chinese have been most historically-minded. Perhaps, China has more historical records than the whole world put together. This guess will not be far from truth. She has a great deal of historical records from the pre-Christian era, not to mention the matchless twenty-six history books of the imperial dynasties. She is not the home of Buddhism, but she boasts of the richest Buddhist scriptures.**

China is wonderous and awe-inspiring. It has a history of five thousand years. It is the only continuous ancient civilization. Other ancient civilizations have changed, discontinued, withered or perished. Why is it so enduring? Why is it so coherent, often sticking to itself, remaining undivided? Why is it so dynamic, always able to revive, regenerate and revitalise itself? Why is it an immortal phoenix able to rise again on its ashes? These are enduring questions. Nobody can give a complete answer, full stop. They will stimulate intellect, provoke interest, engage investigation.**

I have come to realize that even if I am reborn a thousand times in China I will never fully understand this awesome country and her people. Every day I learn something new that amazes me. How wonderful that my work as a consultant in China allows me to share my adventure with others.

Richard Ward

We spend time with our Clients talking about with them about Chinese culture and customs, presenting workshops as well as recommending resources for them.

We think that the best way to learn about Chinese culture, customs and language is to spend time in China.

**A Brief Introduction to Chinese Culture at Pasadena City College

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Dragon and Phoenix May 19, 2012

Posted by Richard E. Ward in China.
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    dragon_and_phoenix

    The most prominent of all Chinese marriage symbols is the pairing of a dragon (long 龙) and a phoenix (feng 凤) which represents love and a happy marriage.

    The dragon is the preeminent male or yang (阳) symbol and represents strength and the warmth of the sun.

    The phoenix, as you might expect, is the ultimate female or yin (阴) symbol.

Double Happiness Symbol May 19, 2012

Posted by Richard E. Ward in China.
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Double Happiness Symbol

The symbol of Double Happiness is an expression that the bride and the groom are to be united, as well as their families.

The “Double Happiness” symbol is usually found displayed at Chinese wedding celebrations whether in a traditional or more contemporary setting.

The Double Happiness symbol is composed of two standard Chinese characters. Each of the characters that denote happiness is written as “hsi” or “xi” in Mandarin. In the case of the Double Happiness sign, the two “XI” characters signify the happiness of the newlywed couple that are about to spend their lives together. Pronounced as “shuang-xi”, the sign generally stands for marital happiness.

Note that the Double Happiness sign is not used in regular Mandarin writing, but is only observed for marital union invitations and declarations.

The Story of “Doubled” Happiness

The story of the Double Happiness sign originates from a student’s journey during the Tang Dynasty. According to the story, a young man who was about to take a final examination but became ill on his way to the capital city. Fortunately he was helped by a herbalist doctor and his daughter. However, the girl did not just help him to heal she also made him fall in love with her.

Because the girl was in love with the young man, she wanted to make sure that the he was her perfect match. So before the boy left for the capital city, the girl wrote a part of a rhyming couplet on paper, with the hopes that the young man can find his perfect match.

At the examination, the young man was able to achieve first place. When the emperor came to assess the young man’s skill, he asked him to finish a couplet. Fortunately, the part of the couplet that the emperor gave the boy was the missing match to his love’s rhyme.

The boy recited the part of the couplet that the girl wrote for him. Pleased with the young man’s answer, the emperor made the young man one of his Ministers. But before taking his post, the young man went back to the girl and recited her couplet’s match.

Then they got happily married. During their traditional Chinese wedding, the couple wrote the character “XI” twice on a red piece of paper. They posted it on the wall and since then, that double “XI” became the Double Happiness sign, symbolizing the “doubled” happiness that the couple felt because of their union.

Mid-Autumn Festival – Moon Festival September 12, 2011

Posted by Richard E. Ward in China.
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The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節), also known as the Moon Festival or Zhongqiu Festival is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese people. Dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China’s Shang Dynasty, it was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally “Mid-Autumn Festival”) in the Zhou Dynasty.[1] In Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is at its fullest and roundest. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties. The Chinese festival is very traditional and a great way to celebrate.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, the others being Spring Festival and Winter Solstice, and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the fall harvesting season on this date. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:

  • Carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns
  • Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang’e Erect the Mid-Autumn Festival.(树中秋,竖中秋,in China,树 and 竖 are homophones)It is not about planting trees but hanging lanterns on the bamboo pole and putting them on a high point, such as roofs, trees, terraces, etc. It is a custom in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, etc.
  • Collecting dandelion leaves and distributing them evenly among family members
  • Fire Dragon Dances

Shops selling mooncakes before the festival often display pictures of Chang’e floating to the moon.

China Lily May 19, 2011

Posted by Richard E. Ward in China.
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White China Lily, China, Chinese, marriage, love

The white lily symbolises “Love for all seasons” and is widely used in Chinese weddings.

In China the lily flower is a symbol of motherly love and also symbolizes the beauty of women.

In addition, the lily also represents the purity of the soul.

The color of the lily is very rich and most Chinese people link the white lily with innocence and sweetness.

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