How Asians Celebrate Christmas

Christmas in Asia celebrated in a big way irrespective of the smaller number of Christians and Catholics compared to the rest of the world. Most of the Asian countries does not recognize Christmas as a public holiday.

World’s longest Christmas season is celebrated in Philippines which begins on September 1st, every year.

Missionaries and colonists have introduced Christian holidays to many countries of Asia.

The big shopping malls heavily capitalize during the Christmas season as people love to shop for their near and dear ones.

Let’s find out how the Christmas is celebrated in Asian Counties.

India

Only around 2% of the population is claiming Christianity as a religion in India; Hinduism and Islam are the primary religions.

Christmas is a national holiday due to British influences and because of mid-academic year vacations.

Christmas is popularly known as “Badaa Din” (Big Day) in Northern India and people celebrate it by planting trees.

Mostly Mango or banana tree is decorated. Big hanging star-shaped paper laterns are very popular. People who live in north-west India go from village to village singing Christmas carols during the whole week.

Christians head to midnight mass and Christmas eve is celebrated with a Western-Style meal. Lively beach parties in Goa are most happening during the Christmas season.

Philippines

We’ve a separate post on how filipinos celebrate Christmas including a local filipina who explains all the ins and outs of this important holiday:

How Filipinos Celebrate Christmas

China

Christmas is more and more popular in large cities in China due to huge number of expats and greater western influence. Hotels that primarily catering to Western guests are decorated and shopping malls may have special sales.

Hong Kong and Macau are fully buzzing during the Christmas season. In rest of the cities of China, Christmas tend to be private affairs between families and friends. Colourful cellophane-wrapped “Christmas apples’ are a popular gift.

For most of China, Xmas is just another workday as everyone is looking for Chinese New Year Holiday in January or February.

Japan

Less than 1% of Japanese claim to be Christian; Buddhism and Islam are the primary religions.

Japanese parents usually give Christmas gifts to their children on Christmas eve and not during the day.

Christmas is celebrated in a big way in Tokyo, night is full of lights with big screens along main crossroads. During the Christmas season, the Tokyo city shines everywhere with Christmas lights and trees.

Christmas eve is normally seen as a romantic day when couples get to spend time together and exchange presents.

During the Christmas week, the Emperor’s birthday is celebrated on 23rd December which adds lot of excitement.

South Korea

Christmas is widely celebrated in South Korea as 30% of the population are Christians, rest are either Buddhist or don’t have a religion.

Christmas is an official public holiday, however South Koreans go back to work on Boxing Day, the 26th.

The Japanese enjoy the secular celebrations of Christmas, next only to New Year’s Day which is a sacred holiday.

Xmas is great time for lovers who exchange gifts and go on special dates.

Tagged : / / /

Asia-Another World

Asia has been always been considered to be a continent of mystery. Surrounded by a long heritage of traditions and cultures dating back centuries, Asia remains a continent of interest to those that seek out the true meaning of heritage and perseverance. With over fifty countries comprising the total population of over four billion individuals and growing, Asia remains a focal point of all travelers who look to experience a unique traveling adventure that will forever be remembered. From the Great Wall in China measuring a total distance of 13,170 miles, to architectural feats of accomplishment that have remained for centuries, Asia remains the premiere travel destination encompassing a rich tradition of history brought forth from generations.

Asia is full of traditions

With points of interest for all those seeking adventure while experiencing breath-taking views, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore remain the most visited Asian countries to date. With a deep tradition of heritage and traditions in respect to each country, Asia is an adventure that needs to be experienced, to learn and explore. Although somewhat antiquated in the out-lying areas far from the larger metropolitan cities such as Beijing, the true China remains intact with small archaic villages that have survived the ever growing population and the need for expansion.

Respect for the culture and traditions of all Asian countries are mandatory and justly deserving. Asians have a long tradition of respect often shown towards each other, especially women and religion. With deep-routed traditions towards the Buddhism religion, the head of a religious believer is considered sacred and not to be touched or rubbed. Removing shoes when entering the home in any Asian country is an indication of respect towards cultures and beliefs passed down from generations. With many celebrations that are commonplace throughout Asian countries, Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival is similar to celebration of New Year’s in North America with the exception of celebration lasting for two weeks or more.

Traditional values hold true throughout Asia in regards to marriage weddings, even pregnancies. Weddings in China stem from traditions that are rather lengthy compared to North American standards and often entail rituals that may last for many months’ even years. From Obtaining the Bride to Groom and Bridesmaids Games and Ceremonial Rites, weddings in Asia are festive and lengthy with actual ceremonies lasting for many weeks.

Replaced by the former tradition of women being servants to their dominate male partner, expecting Asian women of today are treated with respect and admiration. Asian women expecting a child are monitored closely with precise measures to see that the newborn is brought into the world without complications or birth defects. From restrictions keeping sharp objects in bed there-by eliminating the possibilities of a child born with cleft lip or palate, to restrictions from touching adhesives reducing the chances of a baby born with birthmarks, old traditions passed down from generations remain adhered to closely.

Undoubtedly, Asia in all its entirety is remarkable and beautiful in every respect. Regardless of the Asian country visited Asia, will always remain mysterious, inviting and another world.

Tagged : / / /

Chinese Cuisines and Dining Etiquettes

In Chinese culture, food has more than just a vital function. It has a significant social role. Their meals are times for family get together, friends reunion and business meetings. They prefer to consume food in a form of group of people rather than alone. For instance, occasions like Spring Festival, Chinese folks eat dumplings to express the relationship between themselves and God. Thus, food is an important part of life in Chinese culture.

Chinese take great pride in their dining etiquettes

Chinese people are very proud of their food and they have every right to be. Chinese food is probably the most diverse in the world. And, certainly it doesn’t restrict itself to the five or six dishes you usually found in Chinese restaurants in western countries. Chinese cuisine uses a wide variety of ingredients, and there are totally 48 ways of cooking them. Such as stir fry, deep fry, steaming, roasting, boiling and so on.

Chinese breakfast vary greatly between different regions. In northern China, breakfast fare typically includes Chinese hot pocket, tofu soap, Spicy Peppery soup and soy milk paired with fried Chinese dough. In southern China, represented by Guangdong province, breakfast includes rice porridge prepared to thicker consistency than those sold in Shanghai, and side dishes are not served. Some of them also like to have congee in their breakfast. Other breakfast options include pan frying noodles with bean sprouts, spring onions and soy sauce. Their Cantonese breakfast also includes turnip cakes and rice cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. The dim sum breakfast is a world in itself and it’s often eaten as brunch in specialist restaurants. Chinese folks enjoy their morning tea and dim sum breakfast together with lots of people, where they talk about business and exchange information.

It is Chinese tradition to serve rare and expensive foods to their guests. By doing so, they express their social status and show respect to their guests. It is also used to represent high economic status and a way to show, how much wealth they have. Bird’s nest, shark’s fin, and lobster are few examples of their custom. These rare foods are from animal sources and high in protein.

Majority of Chinese people prefer to have 3 meals a day. Their formal dinner includes 8 to 10 hot dishes, 4 to 6 cold dishes, served with fruits and soup. All dishes are put in the middle and shared between all members of family. Members need to wait until whole family gets seated. Usually a rotating platter, in English it is named as lazy Susan, is used to facilitate the distribution. Their traditions vary in different places. In some places, Chinese have a tradition to serve others first. They first serve elders and the younger members, followed by men and ladies. In other places, women eat after men. But mostly, the group dining is the preferred eating system in Chinese society. Yet, group dining culture also brings the possibility to spread infectious diseases. Thus, one should consider the benefits of separate dining. Regardless, due to dispute against standard dining culture, separate eating is not encouraged in China.

Tagged : / / / /

Asia, the largest continent in the World

Often expressed as “Pearls of the Orient”, Asia is the largest continent in the World. Comprised of over fifty individual countries each rich in tradition dating back centuries, Asia continues to be rich in ethnicities with firm beliefs in religion, family beliefs, customs and high moral character. From majestic mountains with breath-taking panoramic views of some of the most prolific scenery in the World, it is clear to see why Asia is indeed the Pearl of the Orient.

The unique culture in Asia

With a population of over four-billion citizens and growing, Asia is a unique culture comprised of many different principles and beliefs. From religion to everyday values, each individualized race is based on specific societies with strict beliefs from which lives are centered and built upon, passed from generation to generation. Although the focus is often primarily on China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore, Asia is distinctive in many ways. The complexity of the culture, the hardships and torments that have been endured for centuries is only a mere beginning to fully comprehend the suffering and sacrifices made for survival.

Where traditional customs vastly differentiate in many countries from what is considered the norm by United States standards, Asian heritage is more than a custom. Asian Heritage is a belief in the individual person, each to his or her own, a unique entity brought into this World for a purpose, to fulfill legacies and the true meaning of existence. With religions from Buddhism to Hinduism and beyond, faith is the catalyst from which inspiration and determination are born. To those that have survived war, poverty and persecution, faith and the belief of a higher power allow survival.

In ancient China where male superiority was dominate. Asian women were considered servants to the predominate male of the family, catering to his individual needs. Often walking behind the male, Asian women were often ridiculed, abused and replaced as mere tokens. In today’s Asian society, women have made great strides in accomplishing what was once thought inconceivable. With greater emphasis placed on the Asian women as more than a servant, Asian women today are now matriarchs of the family, the foundation from which growth and traditions endure. Holding employment positions as leaders of major fortune 500 companies today, Asian women still adhere to traditional ancestral values, however are becoming heavily influenced by North American inspirations.

Throughout Asia today, North American traditions and beliefs continue to change the traditional values and beliefs once considered sacred. Replaced by high moral character and the belief of eternal life, North American and the changing World have erased what was once a proud and dominate society. Today, high rise architectural structures in larger metropolitan cities, replace villages where families endured, survived and worked as a strong bonding unit, forever together, forever strengthened on beliefs for a better tomorrow and the sanctity of ancestral generations passed.

Tagged : / / / / / / /

Cuisines and Dining Etiquette in Chinese Society

In Chinese culture, food has more than just a vital function. It has a significant social role. Their meals are times for family get together, friends reunion and business meetings. They prefer to consume food in a form of group of people rather than alone. For instance, occasions like Spring Festival, Chinese folks eat dumplings to express the relationship between themselves and God. Thus, food is an important part of life in Chinese culture.

Why Chinese are proud of their food

Chinese people are very proud of their food and they have every right to be. Chinese food is probably the most diverse in the world. And, certainly it doesn’t restrict itself to the five or six dishes you usually found in Chinese restaurants in western countries. Chinese cuisine uses a wide variety of ingredients, and there are totally 48 ways of cooking them. Such as stir fry, deep fry, steaming, roasting, boiling and so on.

Chinese breakfast vary greatly between different regions. In northern China, breakfast fare typically includes Chinese hot pocket, tofu soap, Spicy Peppery soup and soy milk paired with fried Chinese dough. In southern China, represented by Guangdong province, breakfast includes rice porridge prepared to thicker consistency than those sold in Shanghai, and side dishes are not served. Some of them also like to have congee in their breakfast. Other breakfast options include pan frying noodles with bean sprouts, spring onions and soy sauce. Their Cantonese breakfast also includes turnip cakes and rice cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. The dim sum breakfast is a world in itself and it’s often eaten as brunch in specialist restaurants. Chinese folks enjoy their morning tea and dim sum breakfast together with lots of people, where they talk about business and exchange information.

It is Chinese tradition to serve rare and expensive foods to their guests. By doing so, they express their social status and show respect to their guests. It is also used to represent high economic status and a way to show, how much wealth they have. Bird’s nest, shark’s fin, and lobster are few examples of their custom. These rare foods are from animal sources and high in protein.

The amount of meals a day Chinese have

Majority of Chinese people prefer to have 3 meals a day. Their formal dinner includes 8 to 10 hot dishes, 4 to 6 cold dishes, served with fruits and soup. All dishes are put in the middle and shared between all members of family. Members need to wait until whole family gets seated. Usually a rotating platter, in English it is named as lazy Susan, is used to facilitate the distribution. Their traditions vary in different places. In some places, Chinese have a tradition to serve others first. They first serve elders and the younger members, followed by men and ladies. In other places, women eat after men. But mostly, the group dining is the preferred eating system in Chinese society. Yet, group dining culture also brings the possibility to spread infectious diseases. Thus, one should consider the benefits of separate dining. Regardless, due to dispute against standard dining culture, separate eating is not encouraged in China.

Tagged : / / / /

5 Major Insights On Chinese Business Culture And Etiquette

The difference between China and other western countries regarding business culture and etiquette cannot get ignored. It’s big and diverse. China’s unique history contributes immensely to their distinctive business culture and etiquette. With China’s economy opening up and joining trade organizations like WTO, it sure has become a darling of many in doing business. If you intend to travel to China for business reasons, there’s no better advice than you having to learn some basic Chinese business culture before traveling.

In this article, you will gain insight on how to conduct a successful business in China as you avoid cultural and social disasters. Here are the tips:

The First Approach.

Chinese prefer doing business with people recommended to them by other business associates other than direct contacts. Referrals form the basis of business relationships. If you have no connections, contact investment committee for direction and advise.

Friendship.

Unlike business relationships in the Western countries, in China, they graduate to a social relationship with time. Business relationships become closer as you share more of your political opinions, personal life, hobbies, aspirations, and family. They accept your deal based on how much they know you.

Precedence.

Chinese business people value addressing each other based on rank. One gets addressed according to his/her seniority and especially in the state-owned businesses. The other party gets addressed as Chairman, Director, Manager, or other titles that represent a particular rank. They avoid addressing each other as Mr., Miss, or Mrs. While giving out any documentation like name cards, always start with the senior person. Make sure you stretch out your both hands.

Giving Face.

Giving face also refers to giving due respect. Respect gets accorded according to rank. When giving gifts, they should differ according to seniority. Those in high positions get better gifts than those in lower levels. Sitting in board meetings or when dining should get accorded according to rank.

Gifts and presents.

Gifts, especially from the western origin significantly enhance business relationships in China and especially in the small cities and towns. Similarly, you will receive gifts from them and especially products with a touch of Chinese art. You should not refuse gifts from them as they refer such an act as impolite and will affect your business relationship.

While conversing with the Chinese, never mention the following topics and avoid them as plague:

  • Independence of Taiwan as a country.
  • Your Friendship with Japanese or show that you praise them over Chinese.
  • Anything to criticize Deng Hsiao Ping.

They term them as taboo and mentioning the above topics results to nasty arguments. Converse anything else under the sun with the Chinese except for the above topics.

Tagged : / / / /

China Guide: The common misinterpret cultures of Chinese citizens

Nearly 5000 years Chinese civilizations had existed, dynasty after dynasty, from the Socialist State the People’s Republic system, China always been one of the top destinations for travellers coming to Asia to indulge in Chinese culture. The country which has the highest population of the world (up to 1.5 billion citizens), however, has cultures which always being misinterpreted by most international visitors coming to China. Some commons misinterpretation cultures:

The Chinese don’t greet and smile

The travellers, who will walk along the unfamiliar pathway in China, asking for sense of directions, or just made some eye contact with the Chinese locals, might realize they don’t return the smile or ‘Ni Hao’ (hello) that you’d greeted them. In fact, some will just ‘hush’ you away, or giving a weird stare on the foreigners they’d encounter with. Don’t be disappointed by the no-return greet. Majority of Chinese citizens doesn’t speak English; some might have little vocabularies, but I could safely say, most of them barely speak basic such as ‘Where are you from?’ or ‘How are you?’.  It is best to have translation app and guidebook downloaded on the phone to help with the directions and basic communication with the hiding behind the cold stare and sealed lip locals.

The rudeness of speaking high volume

While sitting at the restaurant having a quick lunch by the local road stalls, observing the hustle bustle of the citizens crossing the pedestrians walk, you may notice some of the men or women might have some intense conversations, few meters away from your seated table. The way they speak, with high-volume intonation and pitch, the first impression of foreigners might be; ‘Why would they have a fight while laughing in between?! Why are they fighting in public? It’s rude!’ Again, it is another common misjudgement. In fact, they probably were discussing about the best movies that just showing in cinema with a lot of arguments in the group, and everyone wants to speak at the same time, make it appear like an intense conversation.

Impatient with the car honks

Car honks every 0.05 second interval, especially during peak hour in busy metropolitan cities of China. The first impression of foreigners, would say they are impatient and impolite, having no basic manners in road traffic. Well, some might have been acting that way, but it’s a worldwide problem that majority wouldn’t follow the traffic rules. But in high-populated city, car honks have become a sign of awareness in between the drivers. Some might honk to give and ask for ways, some honk to signal to turn left or right, even some just honk to ask the in front driver to drive a little faster

Fake non-quality ‘Made in China’ products

Everything ‘Made in China’ is fake – no originality, plagiarism and short-lasting product. The common words we hear around the world. While some might not know, even the authentic products, I would say, import it from China and change into their own branding to meet the demands of the customers. Some of the products’ quality might be the same level as the authentic. And some products, which are more practical to be use, could be bought in cheaper price.

Tagged : / / / /

Chinese Customs: the most diverse in the world

Chinese Customs have a rich history

China is one of those countries in Asia, which includes a variety of customs and traditions due to its geographical location and ethnicity. The total number of people living in China is approximately 1 billion and it represents 56 ethnic groups of minorities. By the help of a detailed survey, it is revealed that the largest ethnic group in China consists of 900 million people and they are called Han Chinese, whereas, the smallest ethnic group, known as Hezhen, includes only 2000 people. Similarly, there are other honorable ethnic groups in China, which are known by the names of the Naxi, the Mongols, the Tibetans and the Manchus.

Language

According to Mount Holyoke College, the Chinese language has seven major language groups and each of them has their own variations. 71.5% of Chinese population speaks Mandarin, whereas, Wu is spoken by 8%, Yu by 5%, Xiang by 4.8%, Min by 4.1%, Hakka by 3.7% and 2.4% of the population speaks Gan. According to Jerry Norman, the professor of linguistics at one of the famous universities of U.S.A has described the Chinese language as a mixture of several dialects that includes various regional forms rather than a sole language. He further gave an example by explaining the difference between the languages spoken in Chaozhou and Beijing as the same difference is found between France and Italy. However, China’s official language is Pŭtōnghuà, which has connections with Mandarin, also called the modern Chinese language. It is also found that a huge percentage of the Chinese population is also fluent in speaking English, especially the new Chinese generation.

The Traditional Chinese Food

Without any doubt, the Chinese food is popular in the entire world and just like the language Chinese food is also strongly affected by ethnic and geographic diversity. Although there are various styles and techniques of Chinese cooking, but the most famous are Cantonese that attributes stir-fried cuisines. The second famous Chinese cooking style is Szechuan, which is known for spiciness and ingredients like ginger, peanuts and sesame paste are mostly used in this style. Rice is a must-included food item in most of the recipes, in fact, rice for the people of China is similar a complete repast and this is why they called it Fan in the Chinese language, which means meal. Meat is only consumed on special occasions and the Chinese people prefer eating Tofu instead of Chicken or Pork, and this is also the major source of providing proteins. The majority of Chinese people include scallions, beans sprouts and cabbage as a side salad and they enjoy the combination of Tofu with all these food items.

Celebrations and Chinese Customs

Chinese cultural is full of colors and the best time to witness different customs and festivals of China is from mid of January to mid of February as the biggest Chinese spring festival takes place every year during these months in honor to welcome the new lunar year. The festival is celebrated in remembrance of the ancestors and during all these days, the people of China mostly eat mustard greens and rice congee in order to purify the body. The all famous dragon dances and fireworks are seen in this festival.

China is equipped with numerous customs and traditions, which are celebrated by every single Chinese individual. The respect given to the ancestors by Chinese people proves that their souls are rich with the history and no matter what dialects are being followed by the people the customs of China never fail to promote unity and love for one another.

Tagged : / / / /

Top four most popular Asian festivals.

In both human population and in landmass, Asia ranks number one as the biggest continent. The boundary stretches from the Middle East region down to the east of the ocean Pacific. Asia as a continent over time has been known for the liveliness of it people and their huge cultural and religious heritage. However, beyond the people, Asia has one more thing to be proud about; it’s festivals. Asian festivals are one of the most celebrated events in the region as each of them shows off a rich variety of culture of the people. Even though these festivals as you travel from place to place in the region may vary in procedures or manner of celebration but they all have something they share and that is the fact that they are all huge and massive festivals with plenty fun in the pipeline for both indigenous citizens and tourists. So if it’s probably your first time in Asia or you have future plans of coming around to spend a holiday or even for a business trip, below are some Asian festivals you must not miss for anything:-

Songkran (Thailand)

Topping the list is the ancient Thailand New year festival known as Songkran. This festival usually comes up during the time of the year that seems the hottest and as the New Year festival. It also serves as a source of spiritual cleaning for the participants. The fun of the festival comes as local residents equip themselves with buckets of water far below room temperature and out into the streets to completely drench anyone that comes their way as a kind of New Year blessings. Tourists have been participants of this festival as they see the fun.

Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival (China)

Looking at this festival as the biggest ice and snow celebration in the whole world will not in any way be an exaggeration. This festival as the name implies is an ice and snow festival held every year during the winter months somewhere in the northeast of China. During the festival, beautiful ice sculpture artworks are displayed in such a magnificent manner that it lights up the whole celebrations. First timers to this festival find it absolutely amazing. You will wish to attend some day.

Hong Kong Arts Festival (China)

Surely, this festival always gets the people of Hong Kong and visitors as well wet with excitement as they anticipate its arrival. A festival comprising of art shows, talent shows (both local and international), concerts and many more interesting activities by top stars in the entertainment industry around the world. This festival means a lot to the people of Hong Kong as it showcases their rich cultural heritage.

Thaipusam (Malaysia)

This list will probably make a low statement of fact if I fail to include the very famous festival of Thaipusam held in Malaysia. Thaipusam holds a record of attracting over a million local men and women with additional thousands of tourists and first timers in Malaysia. From the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur, a procession which is due to last for 8 hours takes off and concludes at the stunning temple at Batu Caves just outside Kuala Lumpur. Celebrated between the January and February period, it attracts people from other religions aside from the main Hindu followers.

The list certainly can go on and on!

Tagged : / / / /

No need to apologize for sneezing

You absolutely don’t have to excuse yourself for sneezing, unless you are doing it in someone’s face. However, there’s an interesting belief   that when someone is being talked about, he might sneeze. When you sneeze in front of your Chinese colleague, don’t be surprised if he says:”Careful, someone’s gossiping about you.”  If you are expecting a blessing for sneezing, you will be disappointed.

Tagged : /