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Traditional Lifestyle of Chinese People


Chinese Family Concept

The traditional Chinese way of life, in theory, advocates the harmony among the individual, the family and society.


In traditional Chinese culture, the family is the basic unit of society, while individuals are only one part of the family. The blood relationship is the most important element of society. The "four generations under one roof" meant the cohabitation of the father and mother, son and daughter-in-law (or daughter and son-in-law), grandson and granddaughter-in-law, the great-grandson and the great-granddaughter. While modern families normally include only two generations living together, the tradition and the ideal of four generations living together still remains.


The idea of tracing back ancestry is still the most powerful centripetal force of the Chinese nation. A distinguished ancestor will bring pride to his descendants for thousands of years. The many descendants of eminent leaders will not sully the name of their ancestors no matter what the consequences. Thus the harmony and stability of families and clans are the assurance of peace and the advancement of society.

Lifestyle and Culture

The culture of the Chinese people, as shown in the conduct of their daily lives, closely adheres to the precepts of Taoism. Taoism is inclined to simplicity in all things. Since one's life must respect and conform to the seasons, the jieqi (seasonal division points in the calendar) must be acknowledged. Festivals and jieqi are particularly important to the Chinese. This is a way of life that pursues harmony with nature.



Not only in festivals and other special occasions, Chinese culture may be seen in everyday activities. In playing the lute or chess, reading or painting, the important thing is not technique, but rather one's frame of mind. The tea ceremony originated in China. It focuses the attention of participants on clarity of thinking and refinement. Zen Buddhism has had an extensive following in Chinese history; its practice influenced the daily habits of a great number of people.



As thousands of years of development, Chinese cuisine has reached a state of perfection. For Chinese people, dining is one of the most pleasurable activities, best exemplifying harmony and order. The convention followed at the Chinese table is the use of round table. The round table permits seating by hierarchy. When being seated for a dinner, elders, and senior and important guests are the first to be seated. After them are the children, who enjoy special attention, and sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the elderly. Established rules of etiquette include the matching of various dishes and utensils, and the sequence of serving the dishes.


A very important part of the Chinese way of life is preserving one's health. Many health-giving "medicines" are on the daily menu. It is called homology of medicine and food. They include not only woodland flowers, grasses and edible wild herbs, but also the flesh of animals, including fat, bones, blood and internal organs.

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